By Simon Evans
(Reuters) - New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees hopes to end his National Football League (NFL) career with the 2009 Super Bowl champions but says there has been little progress in talks over a new contract with the team.
The five-time Pro Bowl selection is in the final year of his deal with New Orleans and at 32 years old, clearly hopes to secure a long-term deal similar to those given to other elite quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
"It is ongoing although there hasn't really been any progress made here over the last few weeks. I have given that responsibility to my agent and the general manager of the Saints," Brees told Reuters in a telephone interview.
"It is their job to get that done and my job to play football and help my team win. That's all I am really thinking about now."
Should a deal not be done by the end of the season, the Saints would almost certainly put a franchise tag on Brees - a move which would bind him to the team for another year and avoid the risk of him becoming a free agent.
The danger for Brees, like any other quarterback in the NFL, is that having a short-term deal gives him even more than usual limited security in the case of a serious injury.
"Do I hope it gets done sooner rather than later? Absolutely," said Brees, who is second in the NFL this season with 2,152 passing yards for the 4-2 Saints.
"But am I anticipating that this could possibly be next year, this off-season and something not get done? Yes, I am prepared for that happen. I hope it isn't the case but I am prepared if it is."
Brees is a hugely popular figure in New Orleans after he was actively involved in community work following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and then led the Saints to their first ever Super Bowl and the eventual victory.
That has created a tight bond with the fans and the Texan said he aimed to stay with New Orleans until he retires.
"I want to be a Saint, I want to be here my whole career, I would like to get this done as soon as possible," said Brees.
"But I am focused on winning football games and doing whatever I can to help my team do that. I am not thinking contracts right now."
Brees' agent Tom Condon also represents Indianapolis Colts quarterback Manning, who in July agreed a five-year $90 million contract before being ruled out for most of this season with a neck injury.
The Saints quarterback was speaking to Reuters for the launch of the Vicks Most Dedicated Fan Contest, a competition where fans can submit nominees for the award via http://www.facebook.com/NyQuil
(Editing by Frank Pingue)