New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees addressed the punishments handed down in the NFL's "bounty" investigation for the first time on Friday, expressing support for coach Sean Payton and admitting that it hurt him to see the team's reputation damaged.
"The entire team loves our coach. We'd do anything for him and certainly are with him during this time," Brees told WDSU-TV on Friday after a public appearance with Mayor Mitch Landrieu in New Orleans. "Just understanding how difficult it is and we're all trying to get through it. We're hoping for the best."
"It's really tough, because we're all a family," Brees said. "To have some of the things said about us as a team and our coach and our accomplishment, those things hurt. It's been tough for all of us."
Payton will appeal his season-long suspension, a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora on Friday, and the Saints plan to appeal their $500,000 fine and two lost draft picks. General manager Mickey Loomis and assistant coach Joe Vitt also are going to appeal their suspensions.
"My goal will be and always has been to get a long-term contract with the New Orleans Saints that will keep me here my entire career. I'm going to continue to work toward that," he said Friday.