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Report: Saints now dealing with internal family issues

A rocky offseason continues unabated for the New Orleans Saints.

Rita Benson LeBlanc, granddaughter of Saints owner Tom Benson and the woman believed to be his successor, has been placed on a type of unpaid administrative leave, according to The Times-Picayune, which cited multiple unnamed sources in an in-depth report published Sunday.

Benson, 85, reportedly reached a "breaking point" at the end of last season and is using the leave to send a wakeup call to his 35-year-old granddaughter. No specific incident was cited, but it is believed a pattern of behavior on LeBlanc's part led to the owner's decision.

"She's smart and has talent -- but she's just all over the map," said one source who has worked with LeBlanc. "I think she really enjoys the glitz and glamour of being the owner, but she doesn't really roll up her sleeves and get into the business side of it."

The Saints declined to address LeBlanc's status or whereabouts to The Times-Picayune, citing a policy regarding personnel matters.

With LeBlanc out of the picture for now, Saints executive vice president and CFO Dennis Lauscha has emerged as Benson's right-hand man. Lauscha now is making decisions and deals for both the Saints and New Orleans Hornets, the NBA team Benson recently purchased.

LeBlanc's status adds yet another level of uncertainty to a franchise whose fortunes have taken a sharp left turn in the past three months.

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