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Still with Saints

Venturi stays in New Orleans as member of Haslett's staff

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Posted: Saturday February 05, 2000 01:49 PM


NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The New Orleans Saints, moving quickly to fill new head coach Jim Haslett's staff, rehired Rick Venturi as assistant head coach and asked Bobby April to return as special teams coach.

April said he would make a decision by Monday.

Haslett, in his first official move as head coach, gave the popular Venturi the same title he held on Mike Ditka's staff before being fired along with the rest of the staff Jan. 5.

Venturi will oversee either the linebackers or the defensive backs, depending on the specialties of Haslett's future hires.

"This really is about fit," Venturi said. "New Orleans is home to me."

After meeting Friday with Haslett, April said he would decide by Monday whether to stay on as special teams coach.

For Venturi, Friday's move ended what he called "the most unbelievable 48 hours of my coaching career." In a 24-hour span, Venturi said he was offered positions with two other clubs, including one for a coordinator's spot, in addition to the spot with the Saints. He turned down another offer two weeks earlier.

"It's been a month of craziness, really," Venturi said.

Venturi, 53, worked as linebackers coach under Haslett, who was defensive coordinator on Jim Mora's 1996 Saints staff. When Mora resigned after eight games, Haslett turned down an opportunity to be interim head coach and Venturi was promoted to the position for the remainder of the season. The Saints went 1-7 in those games.

Venturi was retained on Ditka's staff as assistant head coach-linebackers coach in 1997.

Venturi said he is energized by the Saints' new general manager-coach duo of Randy Mueller and Haslett.

"Randy and Jim are young people with vibrance and vision, that have the energy to get it done," Venturi said. "Randy and Jim have a plan. They are going to be a great tandem, and I really think that's what it is about today. You've got to be on the same page. And they are on a mission. You can just sense that."

Related information
Buccaneers fire offensive coordinator Shula
Haslett hired to head Saints' rebuilding
Donahoe turns down Dolphins job
Packers add Brown, Sherman to staff
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