Katrina Hits Close To Home For Two Lions

Defensive end James Hall and defensive back Jeff Sanchez are New Orleans' natives.

Third-year Lions' defensive back Jeff Sanchez is considered a longshot to crack Detroit's 53-man roster. But right now, that's likely the furthest thing from his mind.

The New Orleans native is more concerned with his friends, family and relatives back home, where Hurricane Katrina has left his former residence in ruins.

"Yeah, my home is lost," said Sanchez on Wednesday. "I have not seen any pictures or photos or anything but from what I understand my house is awash.

"I pretty much have to start over, start from the ground up. I lost everything I had. Everything I had was in that house. My family, we lost everything. I am just glad everybody got out okay and everybody made it out safe."

Sanchez said his family moved into the Baton Rouge area to escape the ongoing flooding.

The 24-year old Tulane graduate speaks with his family at least twice a day sporadically, but due to persistent communication problems, it hasn't been consistent.

Sanchez has used the incessant television coverage to stay tuned in.

"I am glued to it," he said. "My roommate said I need to get some rest, but I am into the TV every minute.

"I can recognize everything. That is my hometown; that is where I grew up. I recognize everything there and it looks pretty bad. It is going to be awhile before it gets back on track."

Lions' defensive end James Hall, another New Orleans product, encouraged his family to leave days prior to Katrina's arrival. They concurred. Hall's mother will likely move permanently from Lousiana to the Michigan-area.

"My mom is going to drive up this way in a couple of days and I told her that it would probably be best if she got a Michigan drivers license and get comfortable because it's going to be a long haul," said Hall.

Lions' head coach Steve Mariucci was expressed sympathy toward Sanchez and Hall, and remained shocked at Katrina's aftermath.

"I just asked (Jeff) what his situation was and he said 'my home us underwater,' Mariucci said. "His family moved out of there and they are safe, they are doing okay. Obviously, I told him that if there is anything that we can do at all to help in anyway to please let us know. It's such a tragic situation. They are (both) kind of helpless at this point, to even keep up."

Mariucci continued: "You can't even make a phone call. I tried to call (Saints' head coach) Jim Haslett and there's no phones or cell phones working with that area code. It's really something"

To help with the relief efforts in New Orleans, we encourage our visitors to visit the American Red Cross homepage located at: www.redcross.org.

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