Saints tag Howard as franchise player

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New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - New Orleans DE has been tagged as the team's franchise player on Monday, the announcement was made by General Manager Mickey Loomis. Since being selected 33rd overall in the 2000 NFL Draft, Howard has played in 56 games with the , starting 55. As a rookie, he was a unanimous All- Rookie selection when his 11 sacks set a team rookie record.

"Placing the franchise tag on Darren today is a step in the process to getting him signed to a long-term deal, " Loomis said. "Darren has been a very productive player and is a core player on our defense. He is a quality defensive starter in this league and our priority is to retain these types of core players."

Howard had a rough campaign in 2003, missing eight games with a dislocated wrist that he suffered in Week 1. He finished the season with 5 sacks and 25 tackles. In his career, Howard has recorded 30 sacks with 202 tackles.

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