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Brees meets with Saints, Dolphins

MIAMI (March 12, 2006) -- Free-agent quarterback Drew Brees showed good mobility, completing a visit with the Saints in New Orleans and then flying to Miami to talk with Dolphins officials on March 12.

The meetings were confirmed by Brees' agent, Tom Condon. He declined to characterize negotiations but said a deal was unlikely before March 13 at the earliest, with Brees planning to remain in Miami overnight.

"I'm not going to talk to the Dolphins until (Monday)," Condon said.

Miami coach Nick Saban and general manager Randy Mueller also met March 11 with Brees in Birmingham, Ala., where he has been rehabilitating his surgically repaired right shoulder.

Brees went to New Orleans later March 11 and left March 12 without a deal. The Saints and Dolphins are considered front-runners to sign Brees, the top quarterback available in free agency.

"Those are the two teams we have scheduled so far," Condon said.

The Dolphins are also considering a trade for Minnesota Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Miami wants to upgrade the position after going 9-7 last season with Gus Frerotte at quarterback.

The Saints are pursing Brees as a replacement for Aaron Brooks.

"You've got a young ascending player who's proven at this level he can win," Saints coach Sean Payton said.

Brees spent the last five seasons with the San Diego Chargers but reached a stalemate with them on a new contract.

Before leaving New Orleans, Brees said the devastation of Hurricane Katrina wouldn't dissuade him from joining the Saints. He said he helped build winning teams at Purdue and San Diego, and the challenge of doing the same with the Saints appealed to him.

"I think being a part of that would be a great opportunity," he said.

Brees tore the labrum and damaged the rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder in the final game last season and underwent surgery Jan. 5. He said Sunday that he faces another four or five months of recovery and doesn't anticipate any long-term effects.

There are also health questions regarding Culpepper, who has asked the Vikings to trade him. He tore three ligaments in his right knee Oct. 30.

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