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Saints to play 'home' opener in New Jersey

NEW YORK -- The New Orleans Saints, driven from the
Superdome by Hurricane Katrina, will play their home opener against
the New York Giants at Giants Stadium.

It is not clear, however, when the game will be played.

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Friday the game, scheduled
for Sept. 18, is being moved to the Giants' home in East
Rutherford, N.J.

The New York Jets, who share the stadium with the Giants, are
scheduled to play at home against Miami on Sept. 18. As a result,
the Giants-Saints game most likely will be played Saturday, Sept.
17, or the following Monday.

The league said it was possible the game could be played as part
of a doubleheader Sunday, with the one game at 1 p.m. and the other
at night. The Jets are now scheduled to start at 4:15 p.m.

"We are in the process of working out the specific
arrangements, including the day and kickoff time and plans for
television coverage," Tagliabue said. He added that information on
tickets will be announced in a few days by the Giants.

He said the Saints and Giants had agreed to donate part of the
gate receipts from the game to the hurricane relief fund.

The Saints, who spent the past week on the West Coast, are
moving their headquarters to San Antonio for the immediate future.

The Alamodome in San Antonio, which holds 65,000, had been
considered a strong possibility for the game.

Tagliabue indicated, however, it was best to get the game out of
the area struck by Hurricane Katrina. The Alamodome and other
facilities in the San Antonio area, a little more than 500 miles
from New Orleans, are being used to shelter hurricane victims.

Tagliabue said he made the decision to move the game to the
Giants' home stadium after consulting with Saints owner Tom Benson
and other officials.

"There are many reasons for this decision," Tagliabue said,
"including recognizing that the overwhelming priority for public
and private resources in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region in the
weeks ahead must be the essential needs of the public and
restoration of the area's infrastructure."

The Saints will open at Carolina on Sept. 11 before playing the
Giants.

"Our main concern is with the people of Louisiana and the Gulf
Coast region who have experienced the recent tragedy," Benson
said. "We are attempting to carry on in these difficult times and
are looking out for the best interest of our coaches, staff,
players and their families. My prayers are with each of those who
have been adversely impacted."

The last game to be moved was two years ago, when wildfires in
Southern California caused a game between Miami and San Diego to be
moved from San Diego to Phoenix. Last season, the starting time of
a game in Miami between the Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers was
moved from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. to allow Hurricane Jeanne to move
through south Florida.