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Drew Brees optimistic on New Orleans Saints' season

There aren't many players in today's NFL who know how to deliver a message -- whether that be to the union, teammates or the media -- better than Drew Brees.

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So in his first press conference since singing a $100 million extension, the New Orleans Saints quarterback spoke with optimism about the new season, while acknowledging the struggles the Saints could face moving forward without coach Sean Payton and linebacker Jonathan Vilma.

"I'm excited about the unknown. In a lot of ways, we don't necessarily know what to expect," Brees said. "With all this stuff swirling around us, in the end, all we can worry about is what we can control and focus on the process and the result will take care of itself."

Brees -- who recently filed an affidavit supporting the linebacker's defamation suit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell -- spoke glowingly of the team's exiled defensive leader.

"I don't know if you can fill that role or that void. Vilma was Vilma. He was such a charismatic leader," he said. "He worked as hard as he talked. He was one of those guys, you've never seen a guy who was such a great player himself and spent so much time developing younger players."

The quarterback is finding sunshine, even with storm clouds all around. Brees called Payton's sideline leg injury last season a "blessing in disguise" that gives the team a template how to operate when he's not around.

The Saints certainly felt vulnerable when Chase Daniel was throwing all those wounded ducks in OTAs as the "bounty" scandal rolled on. Brees' return to the picture restores a sense of stability that can only help a franchise looking to put it back together.

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