Brees returns to Saints camp

METAIRIE, La. -- Drew Brees returned to New Orleans Saints training camp for a pair of practices Monday after leaving the team over the weekend to attend to the death of his mother, Mina Brees, in Colorado.

Brees said he expects to play in the Saints' preseason opener on Friday night but also believes he will be excused from training camp again next week to attend a memorial service.

"It was good to be obviously back and to get back to work and get your mind back on football," Brees said after the second practice on Monday evening. "It was a long weekend. It was a tough weekend.

"But just to be back around the guys, everybody was so supportive. This is a big part of my family, too," he said.

A medical examiner said Mina Brees, an attorney from Austin, Texas, died Friday in Grand County, Colo., a mountainous area about 50 miles northwest of Denver. Cindy Eller, the county's chief deputy coroner, said the cause of death remained under investigation on Monday.

Brees said he did not have any updates regarding the cause of death and indicated he'd rather not discuss the matter at length, at least not publicly.

"I appreciate everybody giving their condolences and everything, but ... I'd rather deal with it, move on, and I'm trying to," he said.

Shortly before the first practice on Monday morning, Brees briefly addressed teammates to thank them for their support, wide receiver Lance Moore said.

"He told everybody he appreciated us and everything, and we love the guy so we're glad to have him back," Moore said.

"I knew he would take care of his business and be back as soon as possible," Moore added. "I think it's a good thing because you're away from everything. You're on the field, and as much as you can, you're thinking about football and nothing else."

The Saints are scheduled to practice with the Texans in Houston next week before the teams meet in a preseason game there on Aug. 22. Brees said he expects to play in that game, as well.

"Some things are still up in the air," Brees said. "There's not a date for the memorial service next week yet, but once there is I'll be able to kind of finalize the plans. But as of now, I plan to be [in Houston] as much as I can."