Saints Camp Continues Without Deuce

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) _ New Orleans Saints offensive lineman Tom Ackerman will not restructure the remaining three years on his contract, a decision that might jeopardize his career with the team. Ackerman, 28, a versatile backup at both guard and center, is scheduled to count $1.7 million against the cap this season. His contract includes a $1.1 million base salary and a $2.2 million signing bonus. Ackerman's agent. Cameron Foster, said he informed Saints general manager Randy Mueller of the decision on Sunday. ``Our view is that Tom is under contract,'' Foster said. ``And financially, they can't afford to pay starter's money to a backup, which Tom is right now. But Tom could be a starter on other teams. ``So my response to Randy was, `cut him.' Randy said they would cut him, but not until the end of the preseason if he didn't agree to restructure. I told Randy to cut Tom now and give him a chance to catch on with another team, but they are in control, and they don't have to do that until they're ready.'' Foster said he has received calls from five teams who would be interested in claiming Ackerman or signing him if he cleared waivers. A trade is another possibility. ``He had a chance to sign a four-year contract with Miami a year ago as an unrestricted free agent, and he didn't because Jim Haslett looked Tom straight in the eyes and said Tom would be the starter in New Orleans if he re-signed with them. Both Randy and Jim said that to him and it never happened.'' Haslett and Ackerman refused to comment on the situation.

BACK TO WORK: Fullback Terrelle Smith, who underwent back surgery in March, passed the physical Sunday night and was removed from the physically unable to perform list. Smith was on the practice field on Monday. Haslett said they would bring Smith back slowly to make sure he does not re-injure his back.

BACKUP PLAN: Mueller is prepared to move the team to La Crosse, Wis., to finish training camp if inclement weather (hurricane, tropical storm, etc.) moves into southeast Louisiana. The Saints trained 12 seasons at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse before moving to Nicholls State a year ago. ``I had a five-minute conversation with those people a couple weeks ago,'' Mueller said. ``You have to be prepared in the event we get another Tropical Storm Allison-type deal. You got to be able to do something.''