Drew Brees says 'entire team loves our coach,' wants to retire with Saints

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
"The entire team loves our coach," Drew Brees said of Sean Payton. (AP/US PRESSWIRE/Getty Images)

On the same day New Orleans head coach Sean Payton announced that he would appeal NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's one-year suspension for Payton's involvement in the Saints' bounty scandal, quarterback Drew Brees spoke to the media for the first time since the league punished the organization on March 21.

"The entire team loves our coach," Brees told reporters Friday in New Orleans according to WDSU.com. "We'd do anything for him and certainly are with him during this time. Just understanding how difficult it is and we're all trying to get through it. We're hoping for the best. It's really tough, because we're all a family. To have some of the things said about us as a team and our coach and our accomplishment, those things hurt. It's been tough for all of us."

New Orleans franchised Brees earlier this month although he subsequently made it sound like he wasn't interested in playing on a one-year contract, even one that would pay him roughly $14.4 million. But he says he's still optimistic that the two sides can come to an agreement on a multi-year deal.

"My goal will be and always has been to get a long-term contract with the New Orleans Saints that will keep me here my entire career. I'm going to continue to work toward that," he said.

It's been a tumultuous offseason for the Saints, who also lost their second-round picks in 2012 and 2013 as part of the sanctions handed down by Goodell. CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman wrote Friday that "When word was circulating this week that Payton might appeal there were several people close to the situation who said privately they believed Goodell would take a Payton appeal as a sign the Saints coach didn't take his punishment seriously. Goodell, one source said, would likely be slightly irritated."

The bigger issue: the long-lasting effects Goodell's ruling will have on the Saints, one of the league's best teams since Payton was hired in 2006.

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