Monday, 13 June 2011 11:00
New Orleans Saints Drew Brees Tells NFL To Show Us The Money
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Saints quarterback Drew Brees said he remains hopeful that things will be worked out between the owners and players soon, but he also said that serious, unresolved issues, such as the owners' claims that league costs are outpacing the amount of revenue being generated.

"In regards to the cost going up at a faster rate than the revenue, our  response is, show us proof of that, and if there are teams that are struggling, we're more than happy and reasonable to help out on that," said Brees. "The answer has been, 'You'll have to take our word for it.'"

Many "experts" are predicting there could be a deal reached by the first week of July.

"I am the eternal optimist," said the quarterback. "I know that progress has been made. Those discussions are ongoing and there's a lot of issues to get through, but something that both sides want is not to miss any time."

Saints rookie linebacker Martez Wilson said that Brees was putting him and the other rookies up at a local hotel so that they could be close together and participating in the workouts at Tulane.

He said that is especially important that the rookies get as much practice time as possible with their future teammates.

"There's so many young players that don't have the ability to be here paying the rent somewhere, or even travel back and forth between here and home so a lot of the veterans feel like it's our responsibility to  take care of these young guys.

"We're having a great opportunity with all the young guys that are here right now, pretty much all our draft choices are present. In the end, the team that has been together, and has been working hard, and is in the best shape, and is the most mentally prepared is the team that is going to fare best in the season."

Four fans who win the raffle will have the opportunity to work out with the Saints at Tulane on Wednesday. The first such raffle organized by Brees and Jonathan Vilma a couple of weeks ago raised $40,000 for Louisiana charities.

"This is a tough time for everybody, especially the fans," said Brees."We wanted to provide the opportunity for four fans to work out with us. They'll be one of us for a day."

Brees will be 32 this season and backups Chase Daniel and Sean Canfield will be 24.

Since joining the Saints as a free agent in 2006, Brees leads the NFL with 22,918 passing yards to become the Saints' all-time leader, 3,013 attempts and 2,020 competitions and is tied for the league-lead over that span with 155 touchdowns.

He set two NFL records since joining the Saints: completion percentage in a season (70.6 in 2009) and completions (440, 2007 -- broken in 2010).

Daniel, Brees' backup,  was originally signed by the Redskins as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He was a gifted running quarterback at Missouri and his first NFL run went for 16 yards at Carolina on Nov. 7. 

He completed 2-of-3 passes for 16 yards in a fourth quarter appearance against Tampa Bay in the 2010 season finale.

He led Missouri to a 30-11 record over three years as a starter, including the first two Big 12 Division titles in school history.

Canfield backs up Daniel and spent most of the season on the practice squad, but was active for the Cowboys game on Thanksgiving.

He earned first-team All-Pac-honors as a senior at Oregon State in 2009, completing 303-of-446 attempts (67.0 per cent) for 3,271 yards with 21 TD throws and only 7 interceptions. 

It's doubtful Brees will throw as many interceptions again, and the Saints should be better to sustain offense with the addition of a running back like Mark Ingram.

Brees became only the second player (Peyton Manning is the otter) in NFL history to pass for more than 4,000 yards in five straight seasons -- including 5,069 in 2008, the second highest single season total in league annals.

The Saints defense will be drastically improved this season with the best addition being defensive tackle Shaun Rogers. When motivated, Rogers is an animal in the middle of the defense. He will protect middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma and, if kept fresh and used in rotation, can dominate. He is an elite interior pass rusher and will form an exceptional threesome on the interior on passing downs with Jordan and Sedrick Ellis, who could be coming into his own as a player over-all.  Anthony Hargrove could also factor in on the interior rushing the passer. He had five sacks in 2009. Signing Hargrove proved the Saints can handle a player with baggage. Hargrove was on his way to a tragic ending if hadn't been for the Saints giving him one more last shot at the NFL. He endured several run-ins with the league because of substance abuse but has remained on the straight and narrow the past two-plus years with a watchful eye from coaches and players....

by Ed Staton

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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