|J. SHOCKEY Back with Payton|
Jeremy Shockey was traded to the Saints for two draft picks yesterday, giving New Orleans a disgruntled star tight end who watched from the sideline while injured as the New York Giants surged to the Super Bowl title.
The Giants will get second- and fifth-round picks in the 2009 draft. The deal must be approved by the league and is contingent on Shockey passing a physical.
The deal reunites Shockey with Saints coach Sean Payton, who was the Giants' offensive coordinator in 2002, when Shockey was Rookie of the Year.
"I have had a relationship with coach Payton and I appreciate what he has done as a head coach," Shockey said in a statement released by the Saints. "The Saints have a lot of weapons starting with Drew Brees and I look forward to joining my teammates at training camp. This will be a fun year."
The Saints report to training camp in Jackson, Miss., tomorrow with several other tight ends on the roster, including last year's starter, Eric Johnson, along with Billy Miller and Mark Campbell.
Shockey, a four-time Pro Bowl selection who spent six seasons with the Giants, broke his leg against the Redskins Dec. 16.
He is known for his offensive ability more than his blocking, and was unhappy even before the injury - he was asked to block in addition to catch. Once hurt, he didn't like the fact that much was made of the Giants winning with rookie Kevin Boss in his place.
"Jeremy brought great energy to the game every time he stepped on the field," Giants president John Mara said. "He had a close relationship with my father from the time we drafted him, and I had a couple of long conversations with Jeremy this spring and summer. From those conversations, it was apparent to me that a fresh start was the best thing for us and for Jeremy."
The Giants also unload the remainder of a five-year, $31.2 million contract extension that Shockey signed in 2005. Shockey had 371 catches for 4,228 yards and 27 touchdowns with the Giants. He was drafted out of Miami with the 14th overall pick in the 2002 draft.
"Jeremy is a player that we are excited to have on our roster. He is someone I am familiar with as a player," Payton said. "He brings a skill set to the position that I feel will be a tremendous benefit to our offense."
Shockey's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, called last season a difficult one for his client, who was looking for a change of scenery.
"He's been one of the most successful tight ends in NFL history, but now I think he's going to be more prolific in the Saints' offense," Rosenhaus said. "I don't think Jeremy could ask for a better situation."
Urlacher extendedOne day before Bears players were to report to training camp, Chicago and linebacker Brian Urlacher agreed to a contract extension through the 2012 season, according to published reports. The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times reported that the extension is worth $18 million, including a $6 million signing bonus. The Bears declined to confirm the deal.
Urlacher, 30, signed a nine-year, $57 million contract in 2003 that would have expired after 2011. Last season, he played with an arthritic back condition and also had minor offseason neck surgery.
Johnson will reportReceiver Chad Johnson said he'll report on time for Bengals training camp next weekend, but his surgically repaired ankle probably will prevent him from fully participating.
Johnson also said in a phone interview that he wants to move on from his failed attempt to maneuver a trade. He had threatened to sit out the season if he wasn't dealt, but the Bengals refused to trade him. "I was going through a situation where I felt a change was needed," Johnson said. "It didn't work out. Hey, I'm back. Get ready for the show."