Drew Brees turned 35 in January, and is entering his 14th NFL season this fall, but in his view, his career is far from winding down. As Albert Breer of the NFL Network details, Brees told the media today that he’d like to play to age 45, pointing to contemporaries like Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady to prove that maintaining a high level of production into one’s late-30s and early-40s is possible for quarterbacks.
“I’m not getting ahead myself, like it’s a pipe dream, at 45,” Brees said. “I understand the challenges that come along with that. But why not? If I can stay healthy, and I’m having fun and playing at a high level, why wouldn’t I wanna do that? The biggest challenge is physically, the maintenance, the recovery, the way you train. You gotta hope that you stay healthy, but why not?”
While playing at a high level until he’s 45 may be overly optimistic, Brees hasn’t showed any signs of slowing in recent seasons. In 2013, he topped 5,100 passing yards for the third straight year, tossing 39 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. With Jimmy Graham now under contract, and rookie receiver Brandin Cooks added to the mix, the eight-time Pro Bowler looks poised for another big year in 2014.
Brees also isn’t the only veteran quarterback who has expressed optimism about playing into his 40s. Manning, 38, is coming off a record-setting season, and hasn’t given any indication that this will be his last year. Meanwhile, Brady hinted earlier today that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of playing beyond his current contract, which runs through his age-40 season.