Though it was never truly in doubt, Drew Brees signed his new contract with the New Orleans Saints Sunday after passing his physical, making him the recipient — officially — of the highest annual earnings in NFL history.
Brees and the Saints had lengthy, contentious negotiations, despite the Saints being embroiled in the bounty scandal that's resulted in yearlong suspensions for head coach Sean Payton and linebacker Jonathan Vilma, as well as an eight-game suspension for temporary head coach Joe Vitt.
Brees was at a Jimmy John's franchise he owns in Metaire, La., eating some sandwiches and signing some autographs before he signed his contract when the Associated Press caught up with him to talk about the negotiations:
''It's been a little surreal just because of the process throughout the offseason, and just how challenging an offseason it's been for everyone, obviously everyone within the Saints organization, this city,'' Brees said. ''It's just been a crazy offseason and I think we're all just ready to get back to work and excited that it's all starting here in a week. It's hard to believe.''
"I talked to coach Vitt all the time. I talked to (backup quarterback) Chase (Daniel) quite a bit,'' Brees said. ''For me, I certainly wanted to keep up on my team and my teammates and make sure everybody was doing OK. Guys were texting me all the time, so I was in constant communication with many guys on the team.''
Brees' five-year contract is worth $100 million.
For more on Brees and the Saints, visit Canal Street Chronicles.