Drew Brees now has 100 million reasons to smile

611536.jpg

Drew Brees now has 100 million reasons to smile

From Comcast SportsNet
METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- Drew Brees took some time out of his Sunday to sign autographs on items ranging from a black jersey handed to him by a fan to a 100 million contract handed to him by the New Orleans Saints. The star quarterback, who had agreed verbally to his historic deal Friday, visited team headquarters to take a physical and put pen to paper on the five-year contract that gives him the highest average annual pay (20 million) in NFL history. Brees then grabbed a sandwich to go at a Jimmy John's sandwich shop he owns, where he posed for photos, shook hands and signed autographs for star-struck fans before hopping in a white sport utility vehicle and heading for the airport. Looking satisfied and relaxed in a black T-shirt with (hash)NOLALOVE printed across the front, the clean-cut Brees said he was eager to rejoin his teammates after a protracted contract holdout that ran parallel to a bounty scandal that has swirled around the Saints since March. "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." Brees, his currently pregnant wife, Brittany, and their two young boys spend parts of offseasons in southern California. Brees will be back in New Orleans again soon, though, as the Saints report for training camp July 24. A year ago, Brees was organizing and running a voluntary minicamp at Tulane during the NFL lockout. This offseason, he missed all of the voluntary practices and mandatory minicamp while his agent, Tom Condon, and Saints general manager Mickey Loomis worked on a new long-term contract that gave Brees a payday on par with his record-setting performances on the field. Brees said he had been training hard on his own in California and had maintained close contact by phone with teammates and assistant head coach Joe Vitt throughout the offseason. Vitt is handling most big-picture head coaching duties in the absence of Sean Payton, who has been suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in connection with the bounty investigation. "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 also expressed confidence that, after six years in the same offensive system, he was "absolutely" ready to pick up in training camp where he left off last season, despite the offseason work he missed with the club. He added that he was eager to test his skills in camp against the scheme being installed by new Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. "I just look forward to getting back to work," Brees said. "It does feel like it's been a while since I've been out there with my guys and we were running our offense. "Camp, for me, especially now with Spagnuolo and a new defensive scheme, that's fun for me because just as a competitor, you go through about a four-week period where you're competing against your own defense and they're scheming you up and you're scheming them up," Brees added. "I missed the guys; I missed the competition. I'm just excited to get back to work." In 2011, Brees set NFL single-season records with 468 completions, 5,476 yards passing and a 71.2 completion percentage. His prolific passing numbers helped the Saints set an NFL high for total offensive yards in a season with 7,474. Brees' yards passing record shattered a mark of 5,084 set by Dan Marino back in 1984. Brees also has been highly active in the community through his Brees Dream foundation, which has sponsored more than 8 million in projects primarily aimed at improving schools and athletic facilities for children, along with supporting the arts and cancer patients. For all of those reasons, fans like Gerald Hebert, 40, of Slidell, were delighted to share a moment with Brees in the parking lot outside his sandwich shop. "It's a big relief going into training camp," Hebert said. "It's a huge win for the city all the way around. With him being here, it's one less thing to worry about, especially with a lot of the negativity that's come up this offseason. ... It was pretty cool to actually see him and it shows how much interaction he has with the community."

Steve Kerr expands on marijuana, problems with painkillers in sports

Steve Kerr expands on marijuana, problems with painkillers in sports

OAKLAND – Having stirred widespread discussion after his comments Friday regarding his use of marijuana to treat chronic pain, Warriors coach Steve Kerr took a few minutes Saturday to expand on the subject.

“It was interesting, because the way the world works and the way the media works now, what is a very serious discussion about pain relief turns into the headline: ‘Kerr smokes pot,’ “ Kerr said during his news conference before the Suns-Warriors game at Oracle Arena. “I guess that’s the world we live in. That’s fine.

“But I’m actually kind of glad that it became an issue because I think it’s a very important issue to talk about.”

The overriding issue, Kerr said, is that dangerous prescription painkillers are more widely accepted than marijuana, despite research to the contrary.

“I do find it ironic that had I said that I’ve used OxyContin for relief from my back pain, it would not have been a headline,” he said. “So that’s all. I just urge people to do your research before you start taking the stuff that we’re all encouraged to take.”

Kerr’s initial comments were made Friday in response to a question on The Warriors Insider Podcast. Asked if he could visualize a time when marijuana would be accepted, much as alcohol or prescription drugs, he said he hoped so and added that he had experimented with it in hopes of alleviating his pain.

“I’m disappointed it didn’t work,” he said Saturday. “I really wanted some relief and I didn’t get it.”

With 26 states having voted in laws allowing use of marijuana, the stigma continues to shrink. That’s not true, not yet, of sports leagues, which will follow the research and better understand and apply and findings.

“Having gone through a tough spell over the last year with my own recovery from back surgery, a lot of pain, a lot of chronic pain, I had to do a lot of research,” he said. “You get handed prescriptions for Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet . . . NFL players, that’s what they’re given. That stuff is awful. That stuff is dangerous, the addiction possibility, what it can lead to, the long-term health risks. The issue that’s really important is how do we do what’s best for the players.

“But I understand that it’s a perception issue around the country,” he added. “The NFL, the NBA, it’s a business. So you don’t want your customers thinking, ‘These guys are a bunch of potheads.’ That’s what it is.

“But to me, it’s only a matter of time before medicinal marijuana is allowed in sports leagues because the education will overwhelm the perception. If you do any research at all, the stuff they’re prescribing is really bad for you and the stuff that they’re banning is fine."

Kerr stressed that he was not advocating for recreational use of marijuana but urging consideration for medicinal use where it applies.

Draymond Green to wear custom 'Sideline Racism' Nike shoes

Draymond Green to wear custom 'Sideline Racism' Nike shoes

For all Week 13 NFL games, players have the clearance to wear custom-designed cleats to highlight a cause that they are passionate about. And Draymond Green is joining the movement with his Nike shoes this weekend. 

Green will wear specially designed yellow and blue Nikes that read, "Sideline Racism." On Twitter, Green wrote "I stand with my @NFL brother this weekend in wearing @RISEtoWIN's Sideline Racism shoes in uniting against racism. We stand united @NFL."

The shoes are through RISEtoWIN, whose Twitter profile states the organization as "dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations."

RISE (the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality) is a non-profit organization, which was founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross in 2015.