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Saints’ opening game against Packers will be played in Jacksonville

TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., will host the relocated Saints-Packers game Sept. 12. (Logan Bowles/Associated Press)

The New Orleans Saints’ season-opening game Sept. 12 against the Green Bay Packers will be played in Jacksonville, Fla., the NFL announced Wednesday.

The Saints have relocated their base of operations to the Dallas area in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Their opening game, originally scheduled to be played at the Caesars Superdome, was moved because of “the ongoing recovery efforts in New Orleans and the surrounding communities,” the NFL said.

The game remains scheduled for 4:25 p.m. Eastern time and will be televised by Fox.

“The decision was made, in consultation with state and local officials and both clubs, in the interest of public safety,” the league said in a written statement.

Saints prepared to spend first month of NFL season away from New Orleans

Saints Coach Sean Payton had said Tuesday that AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex., was a possible venue for the opening game. The Dallas Cowboys are idle Sept. 12 after playing in Tampa in the NFL’s season-opening game Sept. 9 against the Buccaneers. But there reportedly was a conflict with the preparations for a previously scheduled concert at AT&T Stadium.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are scheduled to play their season-opening game Sept. 12 on the road in Houston, leaving TIAA Bank Field available for the Saints-Packers game. The NFL said that details on tickets and “other specifics, including how fans can continue to help in the recovery effort” in New Orleans will be announced in the coming days.

“I am proud of the collective communications that occurred between many entities in a short amount of time that led to us making this decision,” Saints owner Gayle Benson said in a written statement released by the team. “It is never easy to make a decision that involves not playing a Saints home game in the Caesars Superdome, but I am confident that this is the right decision for our city at this juncture. Collectively, we have a monumental task ahead of us in cleaning up the after effects left by Hurricane Ida, but it has been inspiring to see people getting right to work and starting the process.”

Payton said Tuesday the Saints are prepared to spend potentially the first month of the season away from New Orleans. They have practiced this week at AT&T Stadium and reportedly will use the practice facilities at Texas Christian University in nearby Fort Worth, beginning next week.

They are scheduled to play four of their first six games of the regular season on the road. The Saints’ next scheduled home game, following the opener, is Oct. 3 against the New York Giants in Week 4 of the season.

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