Saints QB Drew Brees made his first public comments about his club violating the league's "bounty" rule in a letter he wrote to fans on his website.
Here is the text of Brees' letter:
This has been an eventful offseason for me and my family. Brittany and I would like to thank all of you for the thoughtful words and well wishes since we announced that baby boy #3 is on the way. While we were all disappointed with the way the season ended, the offseason has given us the opportunity to reflect back on what was a truly memorable year. It has also given me the opportunity to enjoy some much needed quality time with my family.
I do feel a responsibility to my teammates, the Saints organization and to the fans, to address the "Bounty" allegations.
There is no place in the National Football League, or any sport played at any level, for players to conspire, to be coerced, or to be incentivized to intentionally injure another player. I did not participate in any Bounty program, nor did I have any knowledge relating to its real existence. I have spent the last several years as an Executive Committee Member of the NFLPA making health and safety a priority and I am proud of the advancements we've made and will continue to make.
As a leader of our football team, I feel comfortable in stating that I know well the integrity of our organization from the ownership level, to management, our head coach, and the players on our team. We, as Saints players, pride ourselves on playing this game with honor and hold ourselves to a very high standard. We also share a great sense of responsibility to our community and to each other, a strong belief in our purpose, a resiliency to overcome adversity and a work ethic and commitment to leave things better than we found them.
The accusations and perceptions alone created by this issue make us feel like we should all apologize to the young people that love our game and aspire to be in our shoes. Regardless of the outcome of the "bounty" issue, we owe it to them to provide the best example of how to behave as professionals and more importantly, as people of integrity.
To our fans, please reserve judgment until the investigation is complete and the facts in their entirety are known. We are all working diligently to find the truth in this matter and if the facts prove there was improper behavior, we will hold ourselves accountable. Until that time, we will stand together and remain united as an organization.
Thank you for your support.
Punishments for those involved in the bounty program are expected to come in the next two weeks.
Brees received the exclusive franchise tag from the Saints last week, as the two sides have yet to agree on a long-term contract. Click here to read Dan Parr's update on the contract talks.