Brees: Next month 'critical' in contract talks

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Drew Brees wants a long-term extension with the Saints completed before the club's offseason training program begins in April. The quarterback also says he is concerned about how New Orleans is being portrayed in the wake of the NFL's bounty investigation

The reigning AP offensive player of the year calls the time between now and the first offseason workouts "a very critical period" in his contract negotiations, stopping short of saying whether he would practice or play under his current franchise tag designation.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Brees said he does not know all the facts about the bounty scandal. But he says the notion that numerous Saints players intended to hurt opposing players and end their careers is "far from the truth."