Drew Brees on role in labor process: 'If not me, then who?'

Drew Brees is passionate about his role in the labor process as one of the 10 plaintiffs named in the antitrust lawsuit against the NFL.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback has had a busy offseason working with the trade association known as the NFLPA.

“If not me, then who?" Brees told Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times Picayune. “A lot of people are depending on me, and I know I've got a strong voice -- and I can represent guys. And they've charged me with that leadership responsibility, and I take it very seriously.”

Brees has been a member of the NFLPA’s executive committee for three years and got his first taste of the group in 2004 when he became a player representative as a member of the San Diego Chargers. Those were different times. Now, the balance of a season hangs in negotiations as well as the health and future of the game.

Like others, Brees was critical of the owners for not taking previous negotiation sessions seriously. When talks broke down the first time, he said the owners were fast to wage a media campaign against the players.

“The minute that mediation ended, the NFL went on a 48-hour media blitz, talking about a lot of issues that were supposed to be confidential. And not only that, 95 percent of it was false information,” Brees said. “In the end, you know, my job is not to try to convince the American public that the players are right because no one is going to feel sorry for players and owners fighting over $9 billion, especially with the state of the economy the way it is in this country. My job is to represent the present players, the past players and the future players and get a fair deal for all sides -- the players, the owners and fans. Because in the end, it has to be a good deal for everyone.”

Brees hasn’t taken part in the latest rounds of mediation in Minnesota, but he’s sure to be involved again soon. He’s committed to the process.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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