Brees happy to take a lead role for players

Saying ”this fight was brought to us,” New Orleans Saints

quarterback Drew Brees felt it was the right thing to do to put his

name on an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL.

”I understand the sacrifices that guys made before me, veteran

players, retired players, former players. and I feel that it is my

responsibility to represent not only those guys, not only current

players, but future players and the future of this league,” Brees

said Wednesday.

”I can’t tell you how many guys have come up to me and say how

much they appreciate having a quarterback, having a guy like me, to

stand up for them and represent them. That means so much to me

because I’m not doing it for any other reason other than I feel

like it’s right, I feel like it’s fair, and I feel like I’ve been

charged with that responsibility. And I’m fine with that.”

Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and six other current NFL players

joined Brees in filing an antitrust suit in federal court in

Minneapolis. NFL owners responded by locking out the players,

putting the 2011 season in jeopardy.

Brees made his comments at a news conference promoting a

celebrity golf tournament. Proceeds will go to the Brees Dream

Foundation and be distributed to several local charities.

Brees played with the San Diego Chargers from 2001 until 2005,

when he was allowed to leave as a free agent. He led the Saints to

a Super Bowl victory in February 2010.

He doesn’t plan to be in court on April 6 for a scheduled

hearing on the players’ request for a preliminary injunction to

block the lockout.

Brees said that injunction is necessary ”so we can get back

into our facilities and start working out and start playing

football, because that’s all we want as players. We just want to

play football. This fight was brought to us, so we’re in a position

where we’re just trying to get back on the field as quickly as

possible.”

In the meantime, he has plenty of time for pursuits such as

golf. For the second straight year, he’s the host of the Cox

Celebrity Championship, which will be played in May.

He also said he’s optimistic the fight with the owners will get

resolved.

”I absolutely believe that there is a settlement that can be

reached and that settlement discussions will take place here over

the next few months,” Brees said. ”And when I say settlement

discussions, I’m talking about settlement discussions as part of

this class-action lawsuit, antitrust lawsuit that we have as

players against the NFL for acting as a monopoly and restricting

free trade and our ability to get back on the field and play.”