Monday, February 15, 2010 by Online Sportsbook
Barring a breakthrough in negotiations, the 49ers will use the franchise-tag designation on defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin, according to a report Monday.

Adam Schefter of, citing league sources, said the 49ers are poised to use the tag on Franklin if no multiyear agreement is in place by the Feb. 25 deadline for the franchise designation. The price tag for franchised defensive tackles is $7 million for 2010.

Franklin has long appeared headed for franchise-tag status. He acknowledged the possibility as he packed his belongings after a season-ending victory against the St. Louis Rams.

"I'd like to be back here, but me and my agent are going to sit down and talk and look at the possibilities of the franchise tag,'' Franklin said. "We'll figure out the possibilities. "... I enjoy playing with these guys, and I feel like we have a really good defense."

Franklin, 29, is coming off his finest season since signing as an unrestricted free agent from Baltimore in 2007. A stalwart against the run, Franklin helped the 49ers finish sixth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed.

More important to his teammates is Franklin's willingness to do the dirty work. The 6-foot-1, 317-pound lineman eats up blockers, which allows linebackers such as Patrick Willis to roam free. Willis campaigned hard for the 49ers to find a way to secure Franklin's return for 2010.

"I pray to God that they keep Aubrayo,''

Willis said. "The coaches already know where my heart is. I say he's the best nose in the game.

"People say, 'Man, Pat, you make a lot of plays.' But I make a lot of plays because of those three guys up front, especially Aubrayo."

It's possible the 49ers will continue to work on a long-term contract for Franklin until the Feb. 25 deadline. But a source told Schefter that it's doubtful any such deal could be struck.

For more NFL News Check out Football betting section.
by Online Sportsbook
It is the Mardi Gras that may never end. From the bars of Bourbon Street to those long-suffering households of the Lower Ninth Ward, the people of New Orleans were due to mobilise on Tuesday morning to give their triumphant Saints the type of homecoming parade that would embarrass even Broadway.

As the last piece of tickertape settled at the end of an unforgettable night at Miami's Sun Life Stadium, one sound continued to resound through the stairwells and across the parking lots. It sounded suspiciously like booing and yet its message was quite the contrary. "Who Dat?"

The words belonged to 19th-century minstrel songs, and were later reprised in the jazz numbers that filled the French quarter in the Thirties. Exultant Saints supporters, not daring to believe that a city under water five years ago could ever reach a day like this, kept up the refrain almost until their lungs burst.

Drew Brees, the winning quarterback and all-American boy who has thrust himself to the heart of the city's relief efforts since Hurricane Katrina, put it best when he dedicated their first Super Bowl to "the entire Who Dat Nation."

Jonathan Vilma, the Saints linebacker, felt a more powerful sense of accomplishment than most. As a man of Haitian descent, he had the aftermath of not one natural catastrophe, but two, weighing on his mind in the mayhem of Sunday. Drained of emotion, he looked squarely into the camera and asked: "Who dat say gonna beat dem Saints?" The answer was no one, not this year.

To defy all predictions, the Saints outgunned the Indianapolis Colts 31-17. It seemed fitting, too, that cornerback Tracy Porter, as a Louisiana boy, produced the decisive fourth-quarter score when he jumped in front of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning's intended receiver, Reggie Wayne, before returning the interception 74 yards for the touchdown.

Expect Porter to assume a prominent role when the Saints ride their hometown floats today. Do not be surprised, either, if he and his team-mates are honoured with a tea party at the White House – President Obama is an avowed fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers but he, like all in attendance in Miami, remains acutely sensitive to the plight of New Orleans.

The plaudits will be bestowed mostly upon Brees, who eclipsed Manning, his far more celebrated contemporary, by completing all eight passes that gave the Saints their lead in the final quarter. It would be wrong to overlook, though, the inspiration of Sean Payton, the head coach whose calls galvanised his players to rally from 10-0 down. It was Payton, too, who took the gamble of ordering a short kick-off to start the second half, triggering a mêlée from which the Saints, somehow, emerged with the ball, before Brees picked out Pierre Thomas to score.

"Everybody in New Orleans gets a piece of this," Payton called out as he held aloft the Vince Lombardi Trophy, the first in Saints history. The moment completed an astonishing run by his team – they won three post-season games this year, having managed just two in their previous 42. It also signalled the emergence of Payton as a master tactician on the grandest stage, far removed from his struggle to carve out a living in Leicester in the late Eighties, in Britain's now-defunct Budweiser League.

Hollywood royalty were out in force to watch a story of Hollywood pathos unfold: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jamie Foxx and Adam Sandler were in the sky boxes, all apparently cheering for the Saints. They witnessed the thwarting of Manning, by common consent the finest quarterback of his generation, but this was not the narrative of the night.

The story lay in how the Saints managed to engineer a decisive second-half shift in momentum. Such was the threat of Manning, they needed the clear water of a seven-point margin before they dared dream. Jeremy Shockey's touchdown gave the opportunity, but Payton's boldness allowed it to be converted.

For more Super Bowl News check out football betting section.