Saints React To Attack

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Sad, shocking, unbelievable. The New Orleans Saints players shared the stunned feeling of the nation when they returned to practice on Wednesday. They also felt it was important to get back to work and concentrate on the San Francisco 49ers. ``For the entire country to shut down and change our whole lifestyle I think would be falling right into the hands of whoever orchestrated this as far as disrupting our lives as U.S. citizens,'' Saints defensive end Joe Johnson said. ``I think that if we didn't go on with our lives that we'd be playing right into their hands.'' The horror of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon would linger a long time, coach Jim Haslett said. But he had no doubt about what the NFL should do this weekend. ``Play,'' Haslett said. ``I think sooner or later you've got to go on with your life. You're going to sit around and watch TV all day I don't think you're going to gain anything from that and the people that did the acts win. They want the country to go into depression. They want the economy to go downhill. I think you've got to move on sooner or later.'' The Saints returned to work on Wednesday feeling depressed and distracted, but struggling to maintain focus. ``We pretty much have to approach this as if everything is going to go on as scheduled,'' Johnson said. ``We have to go out there and prepare as if the game is going to go on Sunday at noon. We can't prepare any other way.'' New Orleans (1-0) is scheduled to open the home season on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers (1-0). The NFL said on Wednesday it would decide in the next 24 hours if this weekend's games would be played. ``It's pretty tough to stay focused, my heart goes out to those people,'' said quarterback Aaron Brooks. ``This is our job and if the commissioner says we've got to work, we'll do it.''

The 49ers were also dealing with the distractions, but had the added problem of travel if the game is played. Coach Steve Mariucci said the league talked to them about traveling on Saturday instead of Friday as they had planned. It also told them to allow three hours to pass security since they go through the airport for their charter. Equipment might not be allowed on the plane. ``Those things will be unsettling, but we just have to cooperate and be patient and wait and see what they have to say,'' Mariucci said. ``If the show must go on then hopefully we can get in there on time.'' Both the Saints and 49ers coaches had trouble working on their game plans on Tuesday as they normally do. ``It was hard, in fact we didn't get out of here until awful late last night because it was almost impossible to work with what was going on,'' said Saints defensive coordinator Ron Zook. ``It's a terrible tragedy and I think as we go on more and more it sinks in just how much of a tragedy it really was.'' If the game is played, Superdome officials said security at the Dome will be tight, but most fans would probably notice little difference except for possibly more officers on duty. ``A lot of what takes place to secure the building the fans don't see,'' Thornton said after a meeting with the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District Board of Commissioners. A decision will be made Thursday on whether fans would be searched entering the building, said dome spokesman Bill Curl. Having hosted several Superbowls, along with NCAA Final Fours, a visit from the Pope and the Republican National Convention, the Superdome is already ahead of most other NFL stadiums in terms of security technology, Thornton said. All entrances already have security cameras, for example. ``We've spent a lot of money on this kind of thing already,'' Thornton said. Whatever measures are taken will be done in consultation with local police and the FBI, Thornton said.