While saying the bounty fallout is no excuse for the Saints’ tepid 1-4 season, quarterback Drew Brees told the NFL Network he agrees with his former teammate Scott Fujita’s statement on Roger Goodell, that he is abusing his power as commissioner.
“I agree with everything Scott Fujita said in his statement,” Brees said in the Thursday morning NFL AM interview. “I thought it was a strong statement but certainly very true.”
On Wednesday, Fujita, now a Cleveland Browns linebacker, accused Goodell of abusing his power as commissioner for his handling of the Saints bounty case. Fujita had his three-game suspension reduced to one but criticized a letter he received from Goodell after the decision to reduce the penalty.
For his part, in the Thursday interview, Brees echoed previous statements supporting Fujita and the other suspended players, including Jonathan Vilma, who still has pending litigation over his suspension.
“Certainly our players are not satisfied with some of the things Commissioner Goodell has claimed or said. It seems like so much of his suspensions have been based upon speculation and rhetoric or the testimony of some pretty unreliable sources,” Brees said.
“It seems like his decision changes quite a bit…at least the reasoning behind what his decision is. Now that were in the middle of the season we just want to pay football. We want to focus on winning games.”
When asked whether the bounty fallout, and suspensions of Coach Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt, are to blame for the Saints’ tepid season, Brees said the team makes no excuses.
“We’ve got a great team, great character, great leadership. We have the ability to overcome any situation. This has been an extremely tough one, but there’s no excuses for our 1-4 start other than just lack of execution.”
He said that the win Sunday over the San Diego Chargers hopefully “broke the seal…so to speak, and after the bye week we can get on a roll.”
Brees responded to comments from former quarterback and Louisiana native, now Fox Sports NFL commentator, Terry Bradshaw who said he was unimpressed with Brees’ touchdown pass which broke Johnny Unitas record. Bradshaw, in a WFAN New York interview, took issue with Brees asking the NFL to allow Payton, Loomis and Vitt to attend the game. Bradshaw said the thought it was “disrespectful to the San Diego Chargers.”
While saying he had not heard Bradshaw’s comments directly, Brees defended the decision.
“There’s no person that's a bigger part of that record than Sean Payton. Mickey Loomis, Joe Vitt, all the coaches on suspension right now, I felt it was very important for them to be there. They’re as big a part of that as anybody and it made for a historic night and I was very glad for them to be a part of it.”
Pointing to Sunday’s win, Brees said he feels each week the team has improved.
“I feel like each week we’ve gotten better,” he said. “You don’t want peaks and valleys. We have been inconsistent.”