New Orleans Saints Owner Benson Dies

March 16, 2018 GMT

Tom Benson, a successful auto dealer and longtime owner of the New Orleans Saints who brought the franchise its only winning seasons, has died.

Benson also owned the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans since 2012, but the 90-year-old made his mark in pro sports with the Saints.

The teams announced Benson’s death on Thursday. He had been hospitalized since Feb. 16 with flu symptoms.

Benson bought the Saints in 1985 when it appeared the club would be sold to out-of-state interests and perhaps moved out of Louisiana. He paid $70 million for the team, which is now worth close to $2 billion.

The leverage of free agency in his prime brought Kirk Cousins the market-setting contract with Minnesota. The Vikings wrapped up their welcome party with an $84 million, three-year contract for Cousins, banking big time on the late-blooming former Washington Redskins prospect to finally stabilize a critical position that’s been infamously problematic. ... The Oakland Raiders are shuffling wide receivers, signing free agent Jordy Nelson and releasing Michael Crabtree. Nelson signed a two-year contract after the Raiders spent more than a day meeting with the former Green Bay Packers star. ... As part of an attempted upgrade on offense, the Miami Dolphins even decided to switch snappers. Three-time Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey was released as part of an offensive line makeover. Miami also acquired center Daniel Kilgore in a trade with San Francisco, and four-time Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton agreed to terms.


Stenson leads, Woods 4 back

Henrik Stenson had a hot putter, a much quieter crowd and a one-shot lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

One week after Stenson returned from his winter break and spent two days with Tiger Woods and his raucous crowds, he made birdie on half of the holes at Bay Hill for an 8-under 64, his lowest round ever on the course the King built.

PGA Tour rookies Aaron Wise and Talor Gooch each had 65. Wise missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the final hole. Woods again brought out big crowds and gave them quite a show. He hit a tee shot that was out-of-bounds by inches. He atoned for that with a 70-foot birdie putt. And he wound up with a 68, his best opening round since he returned this year from a fourth back surgery. ... Karine Icher and Chella Choi each shot 5-under 67 in chilly and windy conditions to share the first-round lead in the LPGA Tour’s Founders Cup in Phoenix.

Ariya Jutanugarn was a shot back