Tom Benson says Saints close to signing Drew Brees

New Orleans Hornets owner Tom Benson, who officially purchased the NBA franchise today, says the Saints are close to signing Drew Brees.

Brees’ status as an unsigned free agent has been masked somewhat during the last month by the bountygate scandal that has rocked the franchise. The Saints just announced Thursday that Joe Vitt will take over for Sean Payton as interim head coach this season. Of course, Vitt himself is suspended for the first six games of the season.

The Saints must get Brees, who they placed the franchise tag on, under contract. He’s intimated he will not show up without a multi-year deal, one that will likely make him among the highest-paid players in the NFL.

I talked to Drew Brees this morning, personally, and told him what was going on and he was very excited about it,” Benson said at a press conference announcing his purchase of the Hornets, according to WWL-TV. “He’s due in next week and we close. You know how those things work, and it just takes a little more time, a little patience and we’ve got a few other things going on with the draft and players that’s keeping us real busy. We haven’t forgotten about him. We work on it every day.

“As I told you, I talked to him personally this morning. He felt very good about us getting involved with this club, with the Hornets. I think that (contract for Brees) will be done shortly.”

We’ll see. Because Benson has focused on a lot in the bounty scandal and the Hornets, none of which is related to Brees.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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