Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who is still without a long-term contract with the team, took questions on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike show Tuesday morning. Giving few details on the contract front, Brees didn’t shy from questions about the Saints bounty program and the NFL’s investigation of the alleged program.
Brees said his side and Saints management are having “ongoing discussions,” but quickly added, “You would think that this process should be a lot simpler than it is. It just always seems to be complicated.”
Without commenting on when a long-term deal would be struck, Brees would only say he was “very confident a long-term deal would get done, and hopefully that will happen sooner rather later.”
Mike Golic asked Brees the question that looms for many: Will the quarterback report to training camp if a long-term deal isn’t completed before July 16 at 3 p.m.?
Brees declined to answer, only saying, “That’s about a month and half away. Lot of time between then and now. I’m just working on getting something done.”
Actually, the deadline is 20 days away.
Bounty Investigation, a Black Eye
Brees called the league’s handling of the bounty investigation “very disappointing; it’s been embarrassing, not just for the league, but for all of us that are associated with the league. This is a black eye.”
It was process that investigators went about that Brees questioned.
“As you’ve seen the process unfold, I think it becomes more and more clear the NFL had a pre-determined conclusion that they wanted the investigation to turn up and everything was geared in the investigation toward that. As opposed to, let’s just gather the facts and make sure we have reliable evidence before we start throwing around accusations.”
With careers and reputations on the line for players like Jonathan Vilma, Brees asked that all of evidence of the bounty program against those players and coaches be made available by the league.
With the evidence that has been made public by the NFL, Brees said, “The only thing that has been proven is there was a lot of tough talk” -- a reference to then-defensive coordinator Greg Williams' fiery pre-game speech that was recorded before playoff game with the San Francisco 49ers. Williams was heard telling players to "Kill the head and the body will die" of the opposing team.
“People just want to know the truth,” said Brees. “I think the American public and fans are tired of hearing about this. They just want to know the truth.”