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Team Report: Notes and Quotes

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The Saints found a new backup for Drew Brees on Thursday when they agreed to a two-year deal with former Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell. Brunell, 37, was released by the Redskins last week after losing the second-string job to ...

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Old 03-15-2008, 10:29 AM   #1
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Team Report: Notes and Quotes

The Saints found a new backup for Drew Brees on Thursday when they agreed to a two-year deal with former Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell.

Brunell, 37, was released by the Redskins last week after losing the second-string job to Todd Collins last season. Brunell played for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1995 to 2003, earning three trips to the Pro Bowl in that stretch.
Brunell, who began his career as a backup to Brett Favre in Green Bay in 1994, has some impressive credentials. In 14 NFL seasons, he has thrown for 31,826 yards and 182 touchdowns with 106 interceptions.

The addition of Brunell likely means the Saints won't re-sign veteran Jamie Martin, who backed up Brees the last two seasons. Martin, who turned 38 last month, did not throw a pass last season and completed 16 of 24 passes for 208 yards and one touchdown in mop-up duty in 2006.

--Safety Steve Gleason, who was better known as a special teams demon during a seven-year career with the Saints, has retired.

Gleason, who turns 31 on March 19, was an unrestricted free agent after his three-year contract expired last month. He made the decision last week, nine months after he had microfracture knee surgery that forced him to spend the entire 2007 season on injured reserve.

"I think I could play a few more years, but I would rather walk away with my health intact than the opposite," Gleason said. "I just played as hard as I could for as long as I could. I feel real good about what I accomplished."

Gleason started only one game in seven seasons with the Saints, but he became a fan favorite because of his fearless play on special teams and dedicated work in the community.

He blocked four punts in his career and was among the Saints' leaders in tackles on kick coverage each year. As a result, he became a special teams captain and was dubbed "Captain Crunch" by his teammates for his hard hits.

--Details on the trade that brought middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma from the New York Jets are starting to surface after some conflicting information surfaced when the deal was completed on Feb. 29.

The Saints gave up their fourth-round pick this year and a conditional choice in 2009.

If Vilma meets certain playing-time incentives and signs a contract extension with the Saints, the Saints will send a second- or third-round pick to the Jets next year. If that happens, the Jets would return the fourth-round pick to the Saints -- which means Vilma will cost the Saints just one pick.

--Saints quarterback Drew Brees and tight end Billy Miller were part of an NFL-sponsored USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour that visited Japan and Okinawa last week.

Brees and Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards, who are close friends from their days with the San Diego Chargers, participated on another tour last year that went to Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. There, they visited U.S. troops, posed for photographs and signed autographs.

"Last year's trip was extremely rewarding, and I am grateful for another chance to visit with our troops and thank them for their sacrifice," Brees said in a USO statement. "The dedication and commitment of our servicemen and women makes it an honor just to be among them for a few days."

--The Saints' offseason strength and conditioning program begins on March 17 and continues through mid-June.

The 12-week program will include running and weightlifting, classroom work, on-field coaching sessions and two minicamps -- one for rookies and first-year players the second weekend in May and a full-squad minicamp in early June.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I always looked at it as everything after my first year (in the NFL) was gravy. One of the best things that ever happened to me was getting cut because it made me think, 'OK, what am I going to do now?' I always had that thought in the back of my head." -- Saints special teams standout Steve Gleason on retiring from the NFL.

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