New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees joined WWL in New Orleans with Bobby and Deke to talk about (what else?) the ongoing NFL Lockout.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could talk about the upcoming season, instead of courts, lawyers and “secret” player workouts?
Brees has been one of the more outspoken players since the NFL labor negotiations began. Combine that with being a former Super Bowl MVP and one of the most respected guys in the League (not to mention a fellow Purdue grad)—it’s always very interesting to hear what Brees has to say about the state of the NFL.
Brees was asked how NFL Free Agency would work if they played under the rules of the old Collective Bargaining Agreement. His response:
"That’s been talked about quite a bit because that was an uncapped year, which was last year. It would be an uncapped year with reduced benefits for players. Unfortunately there was no 401 K match, there was no annuity, there was no health reimbursement account—none of those normal benefits we would’ve had—and free agency was at six years.
"So you will have had to play six years in order to become a free agent.
"There’s quite a few guys that would normally be free agents after four years, but in the uncapped year last year it switched from four to six. You look at guys on our team like Roman Harper who would be a free agent, but if it’s six years he’s not; David Thomas would be a free agent, but if it’s six years he’s not; Lance Moore, another guy. There’s quite a few. In fact there’s over 200 across the NFL, actually 400."
Brees has organized offseason workouts with his Saints teammates. He was asked if those workouts could give the Saints an edge. His response:
"That’s the plan. You can only worry about the things that you can control. We can’t control what the court is going to decide in regard to this lockout, but the fact is we can’t go into our own team facilities, so you have to assemble on your own, you have to make your own arrangements.
"There’s so many young players that don’t have the ability to be here, paying rent somewhere or even traveling back and forth between here and home. So a lot of us feel like it’s our responsibility, as veteran players, to organize these workouts and to really get something out of it and take care of these young guys. Because in the end, the team that has been together—has been working hard, is in the best shape and is the most mentally prepared—is the team that is going to fare best during the season, I believe.
"We’re having a great opportunity with all the young guys that are present right now. It gives an opportunity to install the offense and install the defense, work through a lot of the things that a lot of the guys on other teams, I’m afraid, are not getting the opportunity to do, so when camp does start and the season does start, I think they’re going to be behind.
"We don’t want that for our guys. We want them to be on track."
Later, Brees provided a very good perspective on the offseason workouts that he’s organized for his team.
"This has been an interesting offseason for a lot of reasons. But in regards to these workouts and having to organize it on our own, you’re responsible for everything.
"You’re responsible for organizing the film you’re going to watch every day, putting together the scripts that you’re going to go out there and call plays off of. You’re responsible for figuring out what plays marry up against what defenses, who you’re trying to get the ball to, and there’s a lot of things to think about.
"It certainly gives you an amount of respect for the coaches and the responsibility that they have every day in preparing you for practice. A lot of things I have to think about right now—that I don’t have to think about in the season—because I know the coaches will take care of it.
"In essence, we are players-slash-coaches-slash-operations manager-slash-everything. We have all the responsibilities right now."
One more thing: Is there going to be football soon? Brees hopes so.
"I am the eternal optimist.
"I know that there has been progress made in regards to the discussions that have been taking place both last week and this week in Chicago and New York, respectively.
"Those discussions are ongoing. There’s a lot of issues to get through, but I think that’s something that both sides really want—certainly us as players: to not miss any time. We want to get to training camp on time and we want to play games on time.
"We were not the ones who instituted the lockout. We were the ones who were forced to be locked out, to not have the opportunity to train and to be at our facilities with our coaches.
"We very much want to be able to play and I think the big thing that is right in front of us, is let’s end this lockout.
"We have to end this lockout.
"It’s in court right now and we, as players, don’t want this lockout. We want this lockout to be over so we can play—and then we can continue discussions for as long as it takes, but while we’re continuing those discussions, we're at least playing football and not taking anything away from the fans."
Interview Transcript from Sports Radio Interviews.