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Saints' Mickey Loomis rips report of diminishing role, praises Ryan Pace

METAIRIE, La. -- Mickey Loomis shot down the notion that his role as general manager of the New Orleans Saints could diminish as he spends more time in his dual position as the executive vice president of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.

That suggestion was thrown out as a possible scenario by the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who said he was hearing it was likely that Saints player personnel director Ryan Pace could get a promotion to take over more of Loomis’ duties.

Loomis dismissed Rapoport’s report during a Tuesday press conference, adding that he thinks his “involvement with the Pelicans is probably a little bit overblown.”

“The Saints have my full and complete attention. They always have. And if I felt like my role with the Pelicans interfered with that effort with the Saints, then I’d step away from the Pelicans. And I don’t feel that way,” said Loomis, who took over his position with the Pelicans in 2012 after Saints owner Tom Benson bought the franchise.

As executive vice president of both franchises, Loomis oversees the entire football and basketball operations. However, unlike his role as the full-time general manager of the Saints, he serves as more of liaison for Benson with the NBA franchise, overseeing Pelicans general manager Dell Demps, who runs the day-to-day basketball operations.

“We've got a general manager who I have a lot of confidence in with the Pelicans and a head coach (Monty Williams) who's doing a good job,” Loomis said.

As for Pace, who has been targeted as a possible candidate for GM openings around the NFL, Loomis said he is “ready for a general manager’s job.” But Loomis declined to say whether or not Pace will pursue any opportunities this year. Loomis also said he would grant permission for Pace to interview if he wanted to.

“I think that’s a better question for him than for me. I do know. But I’ll leave it up to him,” Loomis said, though Pace himself was not made available to the media Tuesday.

Pace has turned down at least two requests for interviews for general manager vacancies over the past two years -- this year with the New York Jets and last year with the Miami Dolphins.

The Chicago Bears also asked permission to interview Pace, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. But it’s not clear if Pace will accept that request or any others around the league.

“He's a talented guy we have a lot of confidence in. We'd hate to lose him, and yet, he's ready for a general manager's job,” Loomis said of Pace, who was promoted from pro personnel director to his current role in 2013. “I would expect to lose him at some point. It's a good thing, no different than the coaches in the past we've lost to other teams and who had opportunities. It's a good thing when your people are being asked to interview for jobs and promotions.”