Bradley Handwerger / Sports Reporter
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METAIRIE, La. The Saints will leave New Orleans a day early, heading to Chicago on Friday evening in an attempt get out of the city before Tropical Storm Karen could play havoc on travel plans.

'We're able to handle this pretty smoothly,' coach Sean Payton said. 'The plan is to leave tomorrow in the PM just to be smart and not get caught in what really more sounds like a wind issue potentially on Saturday.'

This isn't the first time the Saints have had to tweak plans due to tropical weather.

With Hurricane Isaac approaching Louisiana in August 2012, the team flew to Cincinnati for a day of practice ahead of last season's preseason finale at Tennessee.

In 2008, the Saints left early and practiced at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis as Hurricane Gustav bore down on the New Orleans metropolitan area prior to the team's season opener.

In 2005, the team was in Oakland for an exhibition game as Hurricane Katrina made its devastating way to the north-central Gulf Coast. The team eventually flew to San Antonio instead of being routed to New Orleans.

Meanwhile, Chicago is expected to have wet weather for Sunday's game and Thursday, the team began practice outdoors to check out what Payton described as their 'shoe gear.'

'I think the shoe-type for this surface is different than the grass that we play on here,' Payton said. 'That being said, add the chance of rain (and) we've got to be prepared to handle the elements.'

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