Drew Brees on Saints’ Bounty Program: “All of us were looking at each other like ‘was this stuff really going on right under our noses and all of us had no idea?’”March 16, 2012 – 11:00 am by Michael Bean
It’s not been the best start to the NFL offseason for New Orleans Saints quarterback, Drew Brees. The former Super Bowl MVP saw his team mired in the Bounty Gate scandal, with some analysts and fans blaming Brees for allowing something like that to happen given his status as the leader of the Saints. Brees, however, claims he had no idea what was going on. Then, Brees did not receive the long term contract that he had been hoping for and was instead slapped with the Franchise Tag at the start of free agency. We’ll see if the Saints and Brees are able to work out a new deal before the start of the season, or if Brees will play in 2012 not knowing if his magical run in the Crescent City will extend beyond this next season.
Brees joined Fox Sports Radio to talk about the Saints re-signing Marques Colston, his reaction to the Bounty Gate scandal that put New Orleans in the news for the wrong reasons recently, how he had no idea that was going on, being most concerned about the situation tainting the Saints’ accomplishments in the eyes of some, the changes coming to their defense, and being given the Franchise Tag by the Saints rather than a long term deal getting worked out.
On the Saints re-signing Marques Colston:
“That’s a huge thing. Obviously Marques has been a huge part of the offense the past six years. He’s been so consistent and such a key contributor, so I think having him back with everything he’s able to do and his productivity level, I think that was certainly a must.”
On the Bounty Gate scandal that put New Orleans at the forefront of the news:
“Well, obviously the whole bounty situation is disappointing for all of us, just because for me, I really had no idea what was going on. It seems there’s an investigation that’s ongoing now for awhile, and the facts are still being gathered. And to be honest, a lot of us found ourselves searching for answers and facts here the past few weeks. But it’s an extremely unfortunate situation, and I think a lot of us are just waiting to see what the investigation turns up and then the decisions that will need to be made by the commissioner and others just so we can move past this.”
On why he thinks the Saints were singled out when it seems like the practice has been around in the league for years:
“I think there’s a difference in what people might view as a bounty or incentivizing players to do certain things. What I think has been in the league forever is incentivizing guys to go out and make great plays, whether it’s a special teams guy that you’re trying to help take care of or whatever. I think on the flip side of that is are teams incentivizing guys to intentionally go out and hurt somebody. That’s a serious problem if that is the case. So that’s what’s being looked into here, and that’s what needs to be fixed if that is the case.”
On the future of the Saints defense and how he thinks they’ll be treated by the rest of the league in the future:
“Before this news came out we had changed defensive coordinators. Greg Williams had been the defensive coordinator the last three years. He left and when to St. Louis, and we hired Steve Spagnuolo. So in a way, we were moving in a different direction; we were moving to kind of a new era. And then all of a sudden this whole investigation pops up, and all this speculation about what was happening over the last three years with this bounty and all this other stuff, so like I said, for all us it was a big shock especially as all this was coming out — all of us were kind of looking at each other like ‘was this stuff really going on right under our noses and all of us had no idea?’ So like I said, the investigation is still ongoing. I think there’s things people still don’t know. I think the perception might be different from the reality in certain cases with this thing, because it sure has been painted that we’re all guilty and we’ve all been doing these heinous things. I just think that obviously there’s still an investigation that needs to take place, so I would hope that people reserve judgment until everything comes out.”
What his reaction was to the Saints slapping the Franchise Tag on him rather than getting a long term deal done:
“Well, that’s not what I was hoping for. Obviously I’m working towards a long term deal and will continue to work towards a long term deal. I’m still confident that hopefully sooner rather than later we can get a long term deal worked out.”