New Orleans Saints practice in Cincinnati, avoid Hurricane Isaac

CINCINNATI -- Drew Brees called the New Orleans Saints together before the start of practice Tuesday, an uncharacteristic move by the quarterback to make sure that a team with so much experience in dealing with distractions was ready to handle the latest one.

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The Saints practiced on the Cincinnati Bengals' grass fields downtown on a sunny, 87-degree afternoon while Hurricane Isaac bore down on New Orleans, finishing their preseason the way their entire offseason has gone. It's been one thing after another.

"A lot of this has been swirling around us and now all of a sudden, we're together and let's make sure we're out here with a purpose," Brees said, summing up his speech to the team. "It's to get better, not just to run around and run some plays.

"We've got a great group of guys, great leadership. Everybody understands we're going to weather the storm literally and find the way to make the most of it and make a positive out of a tough situation."

The Saints were forced to scramble when Isaac set course for New Orleans. They played a preseason game on Saturday night, then rearranged their plans and spent Sunday and Monday evacuating their families and preparing their homes for the storm.

Needing a place to practice for their final preseason game on Thursday against the Tennessee Titans, the Saints found enough open hotel rooms in Cincinnati and received the Bengals' permission to use the visiting locker room at Paul Brown Stadium and work out on the adjacent fields.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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