NEW ORLEANS (AP) — 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.