|Smith stays for voluntary workouts|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 03 June 2008 11:28|
Bothered by a sore toe, Smith stayed off the practice field, but head coach Sean Payton saw Smith's presence at the team's suburban New Orleans headquarters as an encouraging sign.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and Smith's agent Joel Segal ``are working through the contract and trying to sort things out,'' Payton said.
Smith had skipped the team's offseason workouts, which began in mid-March, until last weekend, when he showed up for a mandatory three-day minicamp.
Smith said he decided against holding out during minicamp out of loyalty to teammates and his desire to help the team become a Super Bowl contender. Smith also could have been fined for missing the mandatory practices.
A 2004 first-round draft choice and a Pro Bowl selection in 2006, Smith has one year remaining on his current deal, which likely would pay him in the range of $1.8 million next season, depending on which incentives he hits.
Smith's seven sacks in 2007 led the Saints in that category. He also was among the team leaders in tackles with 66.
However, his salary is far below that of other top defensive ends in the league such as the Indianapolis Colts' Dwight Freeney, who's paid close to $12 million a year.
The Saints also set a precedent last year when they signed defensive end Charles Grant to a seven-year contract extension that would be worth as much as $63 million if he reaches all of his incentives.
Smith was among several players who were either excused from practice or sat out with an injury.
Defensive tackle Brian Young's left knee, which kept him out of several games last season after arthroscopic surgery, was bothering him.
Payton said Young would continue to sit out the next couple days of voluntary practices so swelling can go down, but the coach said he did not believe the injury was serious.
Also missing practice with injuries of varying degrees were Pierre Thomas (right leg), safety Josh Bullocks (knee), cornerback Mike McKenzie (knee), tight end Eric Johnson (ankle), defensive tackle DeMario Pressley (foot), wide receiver Titus Ryan (hamstring), cornerback Greg Fassitt (hamstring), cornerback Jason David (groin) and tackle Carnell Stewart (ankle).
Center Jonathan Goodwin was excused to tend to a family matter and fullback Olaniyi Sobomehin missed the workout to attend classes at Portland State.