Drew Brees' focus on field, not deal

METAIRIE, La. -- Quarterback Drew Brees on Wednesday said he did not expect his effort to reach a contract extension with the New Orleans Saints to be a distraction even if it drags on throughout the season.

"I'm trying to compartmentalize it the best that I can," Brees said.

"That's why I hired my agent. They all have a job to do. I'm hoping it will be done sooner rather than later, but for me really it's about focusing on winning games and trying for it to not be a distraction."

Brees is in the final year of the six-year, $60 million contract he signed with the Saints as a free agent in 2006.

The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported that Brees agent, Tom Condon, was in New Orleans on Tuesday to meet with general manager Mickey Loomis to try to narrow their differences in negotiations. A source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter last week that the sides were far apart.

"We spent a good deal of time together and had a substantial talk," Condon told the newspaper.

While Brees' contract talks don't appear to be an issue as the Saints prepare to play the Chicago Bears, the health of the Saints' receiver corps is another matter.

Marques Colston is out for a month with a sholder injury, but coach Sean Payton said Wednesday that he didn't bother reaching out to any proven free agent to see if they wanted to fill in.

"We're deep enough and we feel good about guys we have," Payton said when asked about his receivers.

The Saints' coach added that Lance Moore, who missed last week's season opener at Green Bay with a right groin pull, looked "pretty good" in Wednesday's practice and could return when the Bears visit New Orleans on Sunday.

Payton said he is optimistic Colston's absence won't be longer than a month. Colston had a plate inserted in his right shoulder, the coach said, and is not wearing a sling. He could be seen on the sideline during Wednesday's practice tossing and catching a ball with his left hand.

Moore missed nine games in 2009 with hamstring and ankle injuries, but the Saints still led the NFL in total offense, in part because Robert Meachem had his breakout season with a career-high 45 catches for 722 yards and nine touchdowns.

Devery Henderson also had his best season in terms of catches (51) and yards (804) that season.

Now that Colston is out again, and with Moore's status uncertain, the Saints are looking for 2008 draft choice Adrian Arrington to finally fulfill the potential he has shown in the past two preseasons.

"I think we'll see his snap count go up. He's someone that knows all the different (receiver) positions," Payton said. "We've got a lot of confidence in his ability whether he's playing outside or he's playing in the slot. He's very intelligent, he's a big target and he's been here and knows exactly what we're doing, so the timing and the confidence level in him is very high."

Brees also tends to look for running backs out of the backfield, as he did against the Packers, when Darren Sproles had seven catches for 75 yards.

So while Brees said that Colston is "a big part of what we do," he also sounded as if he expected a passing game that accounted for more than 400 yards at Green Bay to continue to produce at a high rate.

"I feel like what we've been really good at here over the last, going on six years now, is when a guy does go down, there's other guys that step up and fill that void and pick up the slack and usually do a great job," Brees said. "So I feel like Adrian Arrington, Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore -- all those guys -- will do a great job."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.