Saints restructure front office, fire Mueller

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints hired Khai Harley as their new salary cap guru and fired vice president of player personnel Rick Mueller as part of a front office restructuring Wednesday.

The Saints have needed someone with expertise in salary cap management since Russ Ball left to become the Green Bay Packers' vice president of football administration and player finance in February.

Harley spent the last five years as the manager of labor operations with the NFL Management Council, responsible for reviewing and analyzing player contracts to ensure teams were in compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and salary cap.

He also advised individual clubs on how to ensure contracts under negotiation would comply with league and players' union agreements, giving him a working relationship with Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and other executives around the league.

"We went through a thorough search to find a replacement for Russ Ball and we feel like our careful search has paid off with the hiring of Khai," Loomis said. "He brings a wealth of knowledge to the position; he has experience working at the League office and the Management Council and is very knowledgeable of the inner workings of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement and where it is heading. I have worked with him for a number of years and consider him a valued asset to the team."

Harley's responsibilities also will include contract negotiations, coordinating certain aspects of football operations and other daily administrative duties.

Harley served as an administrative intern with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2001-02 gathering data used to determine whether players earned performance-based incentives while also handling other administrative duties and earlier in 2001 served as football operations intern for the Indianapolis Colts.

Loomis said Mueller's position was eliminated as part of restructuring, but called Mueller a "talented football man" who likely would find work with another NFL team soon.

Mueller's brother, Randy, a former general manager of both the Saints and Miami Dolphins now holds a senior executive post with the San Diego Chargers.

Loomis said the Saints' player personnel department will now consist of separate pro and college scouting departments, both headed by people reporting directly to the general manager. Loomis also said the Saints were hiring two experienced scouts to add to the college scouting department.

"This is always a tough decision when you make changes and as a result positions are eliminated," Loomis said. "Rick has been a valued part of this team since 2000; and it was under his direction that players such as Deuce McAllister, Will Smith, Charles Grant, Jhari Evans and Marques Colston were drafted."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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