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New Orleans Saints using adversity as bonding opportunity

Their coach is gone for the season, his replacement for six games, and an untold number of defensive players could be suspended for significant time in the fallout of the "bounty" scandal that has engulfed the New Orleans Saints.

Nevertheless, the Saints aren't feeling sorry for themselves, center Brian de la Puente recently told The Times-Picayune.

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"There's no point in dwelling," de la Puente said. "We've faced adversity in the past, and this isn't that kind of team. That's just not something that's in our character here."

Coach Sean Payton received a season-long suspension without pay and general manager Mickey Loomis was banned eight games for their roles in the team's bounty program, which financially rewarded defensive players for hits that injured opponents. Interim coach Joe Vitt has been suspended for the season's first six games, and the team has yet to name a replacement for him.

The NFL is expected to hand down punishment this week to a number of Saints defenders over the bounty program.

Like during their run to Super Bowl XLIV, the Saints are using the long odds they face as motivation, the newspaper said.

"The adversity being presented to us creates the opportunity to do something special," fullback Jed Collins said. "Adversity gives us an opponent and unites as a team. It's kind of neat. It bonds us together."

Collins told The Times-Picayune the vibe in the team's practice facility was "a little different." Looking at the team's offices, currently undergoing major construction, Collins added: "It was kind of symbolic of what the Saints' organization is going through. We're under construction."

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