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Booty staying at LSU
Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU quarterback Josh Booty says he will return for his senior season after briefly considering whether to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft.

"I think for sure what I need to do is stay," Booty said Thursday after the Tigers opened practice for their Peach Bowl game on Dec. 29 against Georgia Tech. "I did everything I could to get back here. Why leave?"

Booty said he was lightly considering the NFL draft because of his age, 26, and a limited number of senior quarterbacks.

Booty received a $1.6 million signing bonus along with a six-year contract with the Florida Marlins in 1994. He got out of the contract in 1999 by paying more than $100,000.

LSU coach Nick Saban spoke to eight NFL general managers in recent weeks and learned that Booty likely would not be chosen in the first round. He met with Booty and his family in Shreveport recently to discuss the situation.

"I showed them the salary chart of where he'd be picked and what he'd make," Saban said. "It was their decision."

Booty said he never seriously considered declaring himself for the NFL draft, but did think about it because of his age.

"My age is a little bit of a factor," he said. "But I was never leaning to leave. It really doesn't matter when you get to the NFL. You just better be ready when you get there."