ARLINGTON, Texas — The nomadic New Orleans Saints are preparing to be away from the greater New Orleans area for a month after Hurricane Ida battered southeastern Louisiana over the weekend.
Saints coach Sean Payton said they can adjust timeline that if need be, but plans need to be in place they prepare for their games against the Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots and New York Giants.
"We're not looking past that," Payton said. "Really, that's not a challenge logistically for these places. It's really more of 'What's the schedule look like for these schools we're looking at?'"
Payton said the specific location of their interim home base is still being worked out and more will be known about that in the next 24 hours. However, it sounds like the Saints are leaning toward staying in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Both Texas Christian University and Southern Methodist University have reached out to the Saints and have offered up their facilities, Payton said.
The Saints have ruled out going to Indianapolis and the Greenbrier in West Virginia due to scheduling conflicts.
There's a Guns N' Roses concert on Sept. 8 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, so that's out. Payton also said that the Greenbrier has a scheduling conflict because a West Coast NFL team opens up on the East Coast and is using their facility.
Oxnard, California — where the Dallas Cowboys hold their training camp — is also out because of the additional logistical challenges that would bring. Both of the Saints' road games during the first quarter of the season are on the East Coast, so it wouldn't make much sense for them to go between the two coasts, Payton said.
"I was moving in that direction, and then you start looking at the schedule and think, ah, those are two long trips that we're taking on the other side of the country," Payton said in reference to Oxnard.
The Saints evacuated to Dallas on Saturday, the day before Hurricane Ida collided with southeastern Louisiana as a Category 4 storm.
The team practiced at AT&T Stadium on Monday afternoon, and will continue practicing there Tuesday and Wednesday before the team takes a short break. They'll regroup at their new command center on Sunday ahead of a Monday practice.