He's gone out of his way to keep the Saints together during the lockout while raising more than $100,000 for charities. That should pay dividends when the season gets here.
Brees has always had complete control of the locker room. Most fans thought the Saints were taking a big gamble when they brought in tight end Jeremy Shockey a few years ago. He was a controversial figure in New York and literally pushed Giants quarterback Eli Manning around.
Shockey had a short and a relatively productive career despite injuries with the Saints and you rarely heard a peep out of him unless he felt like talking to the media. He passed out In Las Vegas prior to a training camp, but recovered and had a decent season.
He also was smart enough to realize you don't challenge Brees.
One of the best celebrators in the NFL is Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith. Per ESPN's Pat Yasinskas, a few years ago the Vikings were in the middle of a scandal after a bye-week cruise on a party boat in a lake. The Panthers played the Vikings while the story was still hot. Smith scored a touchdown, sat down and began doing a rowing motion. When pressboxers asked him what that was all about after the game, Smith said something like "I was out on the lake."
Judy Battista of the New York Times reports that three persons who have been briefed on the status of the NFL lockout believe that, while a deal could come in the next 10 days, the "better chance" for resolution will come during the week of July 10.
Battista also wrote: One person who has been briefed on the status believes a deal can be struck in 72 hours "with intense effort."
Meanwhile, as the labor talks continue, the biggest concern now is whether a deal can be done in time to save a full preseason.
Fans think those games are meaningless, but they are very meaningful to the NFL, given the money that will be paid by the networks (starting with NBC on Aug. 7) for the privilege of broadcasting an exhibition game that will outperform whatever baseball has to offer that same night, even if it's the Yankees-Red Sox.
Once the NFL starts to lose preseason games and the money that goes along with them, the deal that's currently on the table won't be as good, and the achievement of an agreement will be harder.
Saints running back Mark Ingram narrowed his college choices to Alabama, Michigan State and Iowa but chose the Crimson Tide. He is a fan of Michigan State because his father and grandfather played there, his aunt is also a MSU grad and his grandmother received a masters degree there....Who Dat fans will enjoy watching Ingram trying to establish his turf in training camp and Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and Chris Ivory trying to defend theirs...Sean Payton may be the NFL's most entertaining coach this side of Rex Ryan...
Patrick Peterson said he has dropped weight and plans to play at 212 pounds, about 10 pounds lighter than his weight at LSU. Cardinals strength-and-conditioning coach John Lott has advocated cutting weight to improve speed, quickness and even durability -- not for all players, for quite a few, including wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Peterson is seeking jersey No. 21, Antrel Rolle's old number.
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