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Drew Brees absent as Saints minicamp begins

Remember when everyone thought that the start of OTAs was the unofficial deadline for Drew Brees' contract negotiations? With all the bad press from this miserable New Orleans Saints offseason, we thought the team and Brees would come to an agreement before the Saints' leader missed any on-field work.

Nope, that didn't happen.

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There was also a line of thinking that the team's only mandatory minicamp would help push the two sides closer to a deal. It's the only three days of all-out practice of the entire offseason until training camp. It's the only time that signed players are required to be in attendance. 

Well, that day is here. And Drew Brees seems no closer to signing on the dotted line. The Saints and the Cleveland Browns are the first teams to start their mandatory minicamps Tuesday. The Times-Picayune provides a nice preview, with one of the key questions being how backup quarterback Chase Daniel will look running the team.

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised in this bizarro Saints offseason. The general manager is evaluating basketball prospects. The leader of the defense might be free agent pickup Curtis Lofton. Joe Vitt is the interim head coach and dance enthusiast.

Last season, Brees and the Saints tried to prove that offseason workouts mattered by organizing the best player-only lockout sessions in the league.

This year, the Saints have to hope that the usefulness of any work before training camp is overhyped. Their leader remains missing. They can only hope that he's there when training camp starts.

As we've learned, it's dangerous to assume anything about deadlines with this negotiation.

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