Sean Payton Suspended: What This Harsh Punishment Means for Drew Brees

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2012

NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 21:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 and head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints against the Seattle Seahawks at Louisiana Superdome on November 21, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There has always been a reason to cheer for Drew Brees, and it has nothing to do with liking the New Orleans Saints or because he consistently puts up eye-popping passing numbers that we have never seen before from the quarterback position.

Brees is an exceptional football player and an even better person. He truly cherishes his loyalties to his city, his teammates, his coaches and his fans. He is a model spokesperson for the NFL and truly stands for what is right about athletes today.

Yet after today's news broke that Saints head coach Sean Payton has been suspended without pay for the entire 2012 NFL season, Brees found himself in a truly unfamiliar position.


That is what Drew Brees posted on his Twitter account after the harsh punishments were announced on Wednesday afternoon.

Both Payton and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams were suspended on Wednesday because the team's defensive players were paid bounties for big hits on opponents from 2009-11. The explanation for Payton's suspension indicates that he knew about these bounties being handed out and that he did whatever he could to cover up what the Saints were doing.

That's the part that has to shock Brees the most.

The fact that a man who he describes as a "great coach, man and mentor" knew about this going on and decided to let it be. In fact, not only did he know about it, but he was obviously content with it happening, considering he didn't do anything to put an end to it.

So what does this mean for Brees and his future in a New Orleans Saints uniform?

Well, for starters, make no mistake about it, Brees loves the city of New Orleans and the fanbase that is so dearly passionate about this Saints football team. But it was no secret that Brees was already fed up about the fact that the organization wasn't able to work out a long-term deal with him and instead decided to slap him with the franchise tag for the upcoming 2012 season.

Now take that into account and add in the fact that this team is forced to find a new coach in the upcoming weeks before the start of training camp. Not to mention, someone other than general manager Mickey Loomis will have to approve the hire because he too was suspended for the first half of the season for his involvement with the bounties.

Brees can't be happy about what is unfolding here in New Orleans. And now, with only a one-year contract attached to his name, chances are that he will want to go elsewhere unless this sorry story can somehow muster up some type of miraculous ending.

If not, the city of New Orleans could be in jeopardy of losing not only one of the best players in the game, but one of the best role models as well.