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Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
Email: bhandwerger@wwltv.com | Twitter: @wwltvsports

METAIRIE, La. During much of the past two years, Drew Brees has taken a vocal leadership position on issues regarding player issues and the NFL.

But while his point of view may stop Saints fans in their tracks, he's not so sure he has that kind of power with those in the league office.

'I am not sure,' Brees said Wednesday when asked if he feels like the NFL is listening to his and other players' complaints. 'I hope so. I'd say based upon what we've seen from the past, probably not.'

The latest barrage of publicly traded barbs came after the NFL re-suspended Saints players Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith along with former New Orleans players Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove.

All four have appealed their suspensions, again, and those hearings will be Oct. 23.

Fujita, in his response to Roger Goodell's letter to him in explaining the suspension, called into question the NFL commissioner's leadership.

And Brees agreed, backing up his friend and former teammate.

'I still think it's appropriate and it needs to be said by guys like myself, (Scott) Fujita, and others that are close to the situation and maybe have a little bit more knowledge based upon the last couple of years, negotiations during the lockout, and the whole bounty thing,' Brees said.

Wednesday, Vilma practiced with the Saints for the first time this season. Brees said that helped lift the spirits of those around the linebacker.

'I hope that we're closer to, obviously, the truth and justice being served,' Brees said. 'It seems like the longer that this goes,Vilma continues to fight for what's right and for a fair process which I think is extremely justified. The fact that he was out there practicing today, it kind of puts a smile on everybody's face knowing what he's been through and having the opportunity to get him back.'

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