The New Orleans Saints will likely play some of their 2006 home schedule in the Louisiana Superdome, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said yesterday.
The stadium, which was wrecked by Hurricane Katrina, will not be ready to resume its role as the Saints' home until late in the season, however, so the team will probably split the remaining games between San Antonio and the LSU Stadium, as they have this year.
Tagliabue emphasized that the Saints will remain a New Orleans-based NFL franchise next year. He added that major decisions about the 2006 season will be made in the next few weeks.
Tagliabue said the practice facility, used by relief workers in the days after the storm, appeared to be in excellent condition but a great deal of work remains to be done on the Superdome.
The Superdome has been largely cleaned up since its use as an evacuation shelter, with damaged carpeting and wall board torn out. It still needs millions of dollars in restoration work. Its extensive electrical and communications systems were damaged by rain after Katrina's winds tore holes in the roof, and mold stains can be seen on wall paneling extending from the upper deck to the roof.
The roof already has been repaired.
* BROWNS: Just as Braylon Edwards was showing signs of becoming a special first-round pick for Cleveland, he became another broken one.
Edwards will miss the rest of the season with a torn knee ligament, yet another setback for one of Cleveland's top picks.
The No. 3 overall selection in the 2005 draft, Edwards tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while trying to make a leaping catch in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 20-14 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"I knew right away," Edwards said after hobbling into the Browns' locker room yesterday on crutches. "To be honest, I hoped for the best. I prayed right away. But I knew as soon as I landed it was bad. I heard it buckle. I heard it crumble."
* DOLPHINS: Gus Frerotte is expected to practice and play this week after suffering a concussion Sunday against Buffalo.
"He's fine today," Coach Nick Saban said of Miami's starting quarterback.
Frerotte was hurt when he was sacked for a safety, leaving with Miami trailing 23-3 in the third quarter. Sage Rosenfels replaced him and rallied the Dolphins to a 24-23 victory.
Saban said Frerotte remains the number one quarterback.
* RAIDERS: Marques Tuiasosopo probably will get his shot as Oakland's starting quarterback this week.
Coach Norv Turner is leaning toward demoting the struggling Kerry Collins and plans to make his final decision before the Raiders take the practice field Wednesday to prepare for the lowly New York Jets -- though it seems Turner has all but made up his mind.
"I wouldn't have brought it up if it wasn't something we're considering strongly," Turner said on the heels of the Raiders' second straight defeat and fourth loss in five games, 34-10 at San Diego.
"We're going to look at the quarterback situation and say, 'Hey, is it time to look at Tui?' With his mobility, would that help us?"
Tuiasosopo, 26, has been a backup since the Raiders drafted him out of Washington in 2001. He started one game in 2003, but hurt his knee and hasn't played in a regular season game since.
Collins has completed 245 of his 446 passes for 3,118 yards and 16 touchdowns, but he has thrown 10 interceptions and been sacked 32 times for 194 lost yards.
* SUPER BOWL: Motown fans miffed by the NFL's choice of the Rolling Stones for Super Bowl halftime entertainment are getting at least some satisfaction: Stevie Wonder will perform during the pregame show at Ford Field.
Wonder will play three or four songs during the pregame show before the game Feb. 5, Lori Lambert, vice president of strategic marketing for Universal Motown Records Group, told the Associated Press.
Other artists -- still to be announced -- also will be featured in the pregame show, Lambert said.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league was not prepared to make an announcement about the pregame show.
However, he said, "we would be thrilled to be able to work with Stevie Wonder again." Wonder performed during halftime in 1999.
The NFL's announcement last week that the Rolling Stones would provide the halftime entertainment prompted an uproar in Detroit, the original home of Motown Records, which gave the world such artists as Wonder, Smokey Robinson, the Supremes and the Four Tops.
Many saw it as a snub that those stars were passed over for halftime. Detroit radio personality Mildred Gaddis gave out the number of an NFL official on the air and urged listeners to call and complain.
McCarthy said it was always the league's intention to honor Motown in the pregame show. But halftime, he said, is bigger than Detroit.
"The Super Bowl transcends the host city and even the country," he said.