Bradley Handwerger / Sports Reporter
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It's not like anyone is doing a heck of a lot of posturing in the Drew Brees Saints offseason long-term contract sweepstakes.

Brees has said he plans on returning. The Saints have said the plan on having him return.

But few have been so blunt in their recognition of Brees' importance than Jimmy Graham in a WWL Radio interview.

Graham also spoke about the first day of workouts and how the team can use this offseason's problems as a rallying point.

When asked how important it is to get Brees signed, Graham didn't mince his words.

'I think it's very important,' Graham told Deke Bellavia and Bobby Hebert on Monday. 'I can remember last year, during the lockout, other teams, they didn't get together. Drew orchestrated and paid for a lot of the younger guys. He even got me a place to stay and said, 'Jimmy, I want you here.'

'He paid that out of his own pocket for all of us to be here training together and we saw what that translated into and what that meant as far as us jelling. I'm not sure what's going on or all the details, but I just want him back as soon as possible because he is our leader and we thrive off of him. As soon as that can get done, hopefully it will be.'

Not that the importance of Brees is ever undervalued, but Graham's point brings to the forefront just what the quarterback means.

Very few players would be willing to part with their money to put fellow players up for a summer for workouts.

With offseason conditioning beginning Monday, the time is getting critical. There's no real hard deadline until OTAs begin but the more time Brees misses with his teammates, the less time they have to mentally get on the same page.

You can click here to listen to the entire interview with Bellavia and Hebert.

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