Bradley Handwerger / Sports Reporter
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METAIRIE, La. Drew Brees was nowhere close to the Saints' Metairie practice facility Tuesday, the first day of minicamp and the first mandatory event the record-setting quarterback has missed as he continues working towards a long-term contract.

And yet, Brees lorded over post-practice interviews, questions about how he's missed and if teammates expect him to sign coloring at least portions of seemingly every interview.

For Jimmy Graham, it's bittersweet. He has said before that the only quarterback he wants to play with is Brees and yet, he finds himself working to improve with Chase Daniel leading the first-team offense.

'It's tough sometimes,' Graham said. 'But Chase has been doing a great job. Everyone has been doing a great job to kind of fill in and pick up even the leadership he's not able to bring. Still, I'd love to get reps with him and work on that chemistry, continue to build on what we did last year and hopefully get better.'

ESPN's Ed Werder reported Tuesday that the Saints and Brees have resumed talks and remain nearly $2 million apart.

Interim head coach Joe Vitt continued his confident talk that the team's best quarterback would not just be back in the fold before the season, but would return like he didn't miss any time with the team.

'Nobody is going to come in better shape than Drew,' Vitt said. 'Drew is working hard right now. Drew is working extremely hard right now. He's mastered the system. This will get done. It will get done with both parties getting together and getting this thing done. They are both working hard at it.'

Brees wasn't working as hard as his teammates, however. In the early afternoon, he tweeted that he was on the set filming a commercial for one of his endorsers.

Daniel, meanwhile, is taking advantage of his opportunity in spite of knowing that Brees is still the team's spiritual and on-field leader.

'I know he's working hard to get a deal done every single day,' Daniel said. 'Has it got done? Obviously not. Will it? We all hope so. But right now I can't focus on that. If I'm dwelling on his deal and dwelling on what will happen if he's not here, I'm not doing myself justice and I'm not preparing myself to be the starter.'

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