NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees defended teammate Jonathan Vilma in a court document filed Saturday to support Vilma’s fight against the NFL over his season-long suspension.
The affidavit was entered in New Orleans federal court as evidence for Vilma’s motion to dismiss the 2012 suspension imposed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, for the linebacker’s alleged involvement in a program offering bonuses to players who injure opponents. Vilma has sued Goodell, claiming defamation.
Brees, who signed a five-year, $100 million contract last week to stay with the Saints, also swears that he wasn’t aware of any bounty program.
“I have no knowledge of a pay to injure program existing, and yet to personally see any evidence that would substantiate these allegations,” Brees says in the affidavit. “In my four years as a teammate with Jonathan, I have found that he is a man of integrity who passionately plays the game of football within the frameworks of the rules and has respect for his opponents.”
He also praises Vilma’s leadership role on the team and his importance to the community. Brees says Vilma has been dedicated to helping the city recover from Hurricane Katrina and has started a foundation to build schools in Haiti.
“As a professional football player, our platform to reach our communities is directly driven by the manner in which we compete on the field,” Brees said. “Therefore, Jonathan’s absence on the field will adversely affect his ability to impact the community in a positive way as a leader and a role model.”
JETS: Darrelle Revis is planning to show up for training camp.
A person familiar with the decision said the All-Pro cornerback expects to report with the rest of his teammates next Thursday in Cortland, N.Y., rather than hold out in a contract dispute for the second time in three summers.
Revis said last month during minicamp that he was unsure if he would report for training camp while looking for the Jets to rework the $46 million, four-year deal he signed in 2010.
The 27-year-old Revis is due to earn $13.5 million during the next two years after the deal was front-loaded with $32.5 million in the first two years.
OBITUARY: Mike Lynn, the longtime Minnesota Vikings executive who made the ill-fated trade with Dallas for Herschel Walker, has died. He was 76.
The Vikings confirmed Lynn’s death Saturday. Lynn served as the team’s general manager from 1975 to 1990.
He is best remembered for one of the most lopsided trades in NFL history. The Vikings sent five players and seven draft picks to the Cowboys in 1989 for Walker, the running back Lynn considered the missing link to a Super Bowl run.
Walker never panned out in Minnesota and Dallas used the riches of players and picks to lay the groundwork for three Super Bowl wins.