Drew Brees

Drew Brees Was Serious About 2021 Comeback

Those whispers of a potential Drew Brees return in 2021 were apparently more than rumors. While speaking with reporters today following his selection into the Saints Hall of Fame, the former quarterback acknowledged that he was serious about coming out of retirement in 2021.

[RELATED: Drew Brees: “I Would Absolutely Still Be Playing” If Not For Shoulder Injury]

“Very,” Brees answered when asked about his past interest in a comeback attempt (via Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football). “I’ll just leave it at that.”

Brees decided to hang up his cleats following the 2020 campaign. His replacement, Jameis Winston, suffered a torn ACL and MCL damage only seven games into the 2021 season, leading the Saints to ask Brees if he’d consider returning for the stretch run. Brees publicly rejected the invite, but is sounds like he gave the opportunity more consideration than he let on.

Brees hinted that part of his decision was attributed to injury, a factor he’s acknowledged in the past. The quarterback didn’t believe he could properly overcome his surgically repaired throwing shoulder, although he joked with reporters that he could have just reverted to his high school playbook.

“At the end of the day, it’s like, how capable … am I to do the job, right?” Brees asked reporters (via ESPN’s Katherine Terrell). “I would’ve run QB draws, I would’ve done whatever. I would’ve done some veer option. We would’ve pulled out all the stops. I was ready. Pull out the high school playbook.”

While the 2021 rumors didn’t lead to a reunion, rumors continued to persist. When Brees announced that he was stepping away from his television role, there were immediately rumblings that the quarterback could look to return to the NFL. The player himself often helped flame these rumors, and Brees believes he never completely shut the door on a return because his career lacked “closure.”

“Certainly to have it be in a situation like that where you’re not able to really be with the fans and celebrate it with all those who are so important, I felt like there was a little bit of a lack of closure,” Brees said of playing in front of mostly empty stadiums in 2020. “I try not to think about, like, the glance back in the Dome because I wish it would’ve been with a packed house. That energy that is so synonymous with the Superdome that I’ll always remember and what we always fed off every game day. My image of the Dome is much different than that last one.”

Drew Brees: “I Would Absolutely Still Be Playing” If Not For Shoulder Injury

Drew Brees‘ illustrious career came to an end with his 2021 retirement, although speculation continued for a time after that regarding his ability to continue playing well into his 40s. If not for a recurring shoulder issue, the future Hall of Famer contends he would still be able to play.

Brees, 44, appeared on ESPN’s Greeny radio show and made a revelation about his throwing shoulder. Due to the nature of the surgery he had in 2005, he said, he was put “on the fast track to a degenerative shoulder and all kind of arthritic changes.” While he managed to play 20 seasons in the NFL and earn numerous accolades along the way, Brees feels he would be able to still add to his resume if not for the procedure.

“Look, I’ll let you in on a little fact. I don’t throw with my right arm anymore. My right arm does not work. So, when I throw in the backyard right now, I throw left-handed… If I could, I would absolutely still be playing.”

The former Super Bowl MVP hinted at a potential return last spring, but any slight chance on that front was extinguished when it was learned he had undergone another procedure on his throwing shoulder. In spite of that, Brees acknowledged “there might have been a feeler or two” with respect to a potential comeback in the years following his decision to hang up his cleats. Arm strength became an issue in the waning years of Brees’ career, so it would have been unlikely he could have enjoyed his previous success with the Saints or another team over the past few seasons.

The 13-time Pro Bowler nevertheless would have made for an intriguing addition to New Orleans (a team which has struggled to find a long-term successor under center, leading to the decision to add Derek Carr on a lucrative free agent deal this offseason) or another interested party. In the end, his initial 2005 procedure – which affected the end of his Chargers tenure and his free agent market – allowed for one of the best careers authored by an NFL quarterback, but it cut short his ability to remain in the league for as long as he intended.

Latest On Broncos, Sean Payton Hiring

The Broncos were connected to a number of head coaching candidates in the days leading up to their trade with the Saints, with some reports indicating that the organization was zeroing in on 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, who ended up opting for the Texans job. However, owner Greg Penner made it clear today that the team had their sights on Sean Payton days before the deal was consummated.

“We locked in five to six days before got trade done, our focus was entirely on him and closing that deal,” Penner said during Payton’s introductory press conference today (via Troy Renck of Denver7 on Twitter).

On the day of the trade, it was reported that the Broncos had made a last-ditch offer to recruit Ryans to Denver. When he declined their overtures, the team pivoted to Payton, surrendering a 2023 first-round pick and 2024 second-round pick to acquire the head coach from New Orleans. The Broncos subsequently signed their new head coach to a five-year deal.

Payton, 59, was believed to be intrigued by both the new Broncos ownership contingent and the prospect of coaching Wilson. He acknowledged as much today, and he admitted that he was ready to return to television for another year if a suitable opportunity didn’t present itself (per Kyle Newman of the Denver Post on Twitter).

More notes out of Denver:

  • Payton said he spoke with Russell Wilson before joining the Broncos, and he added that running back Latavius Murray helped recruit him to Denver (via Newman on Twitter). The veteran had a pair of productive seasons playing under Payton when the two were with the Saints, with Murray averaging 852 yards from scrimmage during his two years in New Orleans. Thanks to a number of RB injuries, Murray ended up starting seven of his 12 appearances for the Broncos last season, finishing with 827 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns.
  • The head coach’s five-year contract was suggested to be in the range of $17MM to $21MM per season, but Peter King of Football Morning in America narrows down the number to “at least” $18MM. It sounds like Payton may have had to settle for that amount, as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes that the coach was seeking a contract that would pay him around $23MM annually. However, “Denver wasn’t quite comfortable paying that” amount.
  • As Dan Graziano points out in that same ESPN article, many assumed that Payton would want full control over player personnel like he had in New Orleans. This leads to natural questions about general manager George Paton‘s job security, and Fowler notes that there’s growing buzz that Payton wants to reunite with Saints vice president/assistant general manager Jeff Ireland. However, during his press conference today, Payton expressed optimism that he’ll mesh with his GM. “I feel like I’ve got good instincts, and I feel like there’s a demeanor with him that reminds me of Mickey (Loomis) in a good way,” he said (via Mike Klis of 9News on Twitter). “Very steady. I’ve always respected the teams that he’s been a part of…There’s this myth I’m this tyrant that has to come in and control everything. I’m like, ‘Where are you guys getting all this stuff from?’ I might be a tyrant once in a while but not a lot. Anyway, I really enjoy his company and it’s worked well so far.”
  • King notes that Wilson was a proponent of adding Payton, and the quarterback is looking forward to being coached hard following a disappointing first season in Denver. King points out the height similarities between Wilson and Drew Brees, who had plenty of success under Payton when the two were in New Orleans. In fact, Wilson recently reached out to Brees “to get a preview of coming attractions.”
  • In his FMIA article, King notes that Payton won’t be in a rush to find a coordinator and will look for a coach that’s a proper match. While there’s no clarity on additions, we’re getting word on who could be out in Denver. It sounds like tight ends coach Jake Moreland and assistant offensive line coach Ben Steele will not be back next season, per Klis (on Twitter).

Fox Considering Drew Brees For Broadcasting Role

Retired quarterback Drew Brees has made headlines recently, hinting at a potential return to the NFL. The far likelier career move he could be making, though, would involve changing broadcast networks. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports (on Twitter) that Brees is “a possibility” to work as an analyst for Fox Sports. 

The 43-year-old listed a return to playing football as a possibility last week in a social media post. While few believed that to be a genuine statement of intent to sign with the Saints (or any other NFL team), it did bring up the question of his next career choice. It was known, at that time, that he would not be returning to NBC Sports, with whom he worked last season.

Not long after, it was reported that Brees recently underwent shoulder surgery, which essentially ended any chance of a comeback. While that news doesn’t guarantee that he will once again work as a TV analyst, it could nevertheless steer him towards a second attempt at doing so. As Marchand states, Fox “will not break the bank for him, but the opportunity will be there”.

Should Brees choose to make the move, he would slot in on the network’s No. 2 broadcast team. As he made clear in his recent tweet, however, there are a number of other opportunities he may prefer to explore. In the coming weeks and months, his future should become clearer.

Drew Brees Underwent Shoulder Surgery

Drew Breespotential return to the field already seemed very, very unlikely. But for those holding out hope, a recent operation will likely end any of the discussions. According to Peter King of Football Morning in America, the legendary QB recently underwent surgery on his left shoulder.

[RELATED: Drew Brees Acknowledges Potential Return To NFL]

After having been out of football for more than a year, the operation (and rehab) would likely shut the door on a Brees return in 2022. If the quarterback was considering a return, the shoulder surgery means he wouldn’t be able to play football until at least September or October, per Ed Werder (on Twitter).

Brees unintentionally flamed the fire earlier this week when he announced that he was leaving his broadcasting gig with NBC Sports. While the 43-year-old didn’t explicitly state that he was considering a return to the NFL, he did acknowledge that a comeback was one of many potential paths as he decides what to do next.

“Despite speculation from the media about my future this fall, I’m currently undecided,” Brees said. He continued, “I may work for NBC, I may play football again, I may focus on business and philanthropy, I may train for the pickleball tour, senior golf tour, coach my kids or all of the above. I’ll let you know.”

Ever since Brees decided to walk away following the 2020 campaign, there has been plenty of speculation regarding a potential return. When Brees’ replacement for the 2021 season, Jameis Winston, went down with a season-ending injury, Brees joked that he had no plans to return and save the Saints’ season. When Winston’s backups, Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian, both found themselves on the COVID-19 list, the Saints’ reportedly asked Brees to come out of retirement. Brees’ response was once again in jest, as he replied with a picture of himself golfing, hinting that he was content in his post-football activities.

Brees would be the second-oldest player in the NFL (behind Tom Brady) if he played in 2022. Considering he last played 18 months ago, it’s questionable if Brees could even be productive under center. That seems to be the sentiment among those close to Brees, with one source telling King that the quarterback is “not playing football” again.

Drew Brees Acknowledges Potential Return To NFL

In a tweet Sunday night, former Saints quarterback Drew Brees addressed the future of his professional career, namely, the uncertainty of said future career. To be very clear, Brees did not tease or hint at a return, he merely acknowledged it as one of several options, which is the most we’ve heard from him on the subject in some time. 

Following his retirement at the end of the 2020 NFL season, Brees joined NBC Sports to serve as a color analyst on Football Night in America, the network’s pre-game show before Sunday Night Football games, as well as the network’s Notre Dame football games, paired up with play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico. It was announced two months ago by Andrew Marchand of NY Post that, after one year in the studio, Brees would not return to NBC.

When Brees’ replacement for the 2021 season, Jameis Winston, went down with a torn ACL and MCL damage, ending his season after eight games, Brees joked with his NBC coworkers, intimating that he had no plans to return and save the Saints’ season. When Winston’s backups, Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian, both found themselves on the COVID-19 list, the Saints’ reportedly asked Brees to come out of retirement. Brees’ response was once again in jest, as he replied with a picture of himself golfing, hinting that he was content in his post-football activities.

With Brees deciding against returning to NBC Sports, there has apparently been some media speculation about what comes next. His most recent tweet addressed those rumors.

“Despite speculation from the media about my future this fall, I’m currently undecided,” Brees said. He continued, “I may work for NBC, I may play football again, I may focus on business and philanthropy, I may train for the pickleball tour, senior golf tour, coach my kids or all of the above. I’ll let you know.”

While “all of the above” would certainly be entertaining to see, football fans are obviously most interested in the potential for more football in his future. Brees turned 43 this past January, which would make him the second oldest player in the NFL behind Tom Brady, should he return. There would also be much intrigue about where he might return. Would Brees have interest in playing in his long-term home? Or would we see him follow the leads of Brady, Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre, spending the last few years of his career in a new setting?

Regardless, anything guessed is pure speculation, as Brees has made clear his decision has not yet been made. He says he’ll let us know, and we’ll be watching closely for a decision.

Saints Looking To Bring Back QB Winston

After watching four different quarterbacks start games in New Orleans last year, the Saints are looking to address the position this offseason. According to the NFL Network’s Jim Trotter, the Saints will explore the avenues of the 2022 NFL Draft, trades, and free agency. If New Orleans decides to go the free agent route, it appears Jameis Winston could find himself returning to the Saints’ offense. 

After spending a year as Drew Brees‘ back up, Winston was tabbed as the Saints’ starting quarterback to start the 2021 NFL season. In seven games, Winston put up impressive numbers passing for 1,170 yards and throwing 14 touchdowns to 3 interceptions en route to a 5-2 record. Winston’s impressive comeback year was cut short when he tore his ACL after a horse-collar tackle by Devin White in a Week 8 matchup with the Buccaneers.

Winston’s first one-year contract in New Orleans was valued at $1.1MM and last year’s deal was worth $12MM. With Winston recovering from his knee injuries, the Saints could potentially re-sign him for a bargain deal. This would allow the Saints to still possibly pursue one of the Draft’s quarterback prospects. Sitting at 18th in the Draft’s first round, New Orleans is uniquely positioned to watch the trends of the Draft early on and determine if they should utilize a Day One pick on a potential future quarterback.

With two years of the Saints’ offense under his belt, Winston should have a familiarity with Saints’ offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael that would allow him to comfortably slide back into a role at starting quarterback. Whether as a temporary filler or as the quarterback of the future, Winston provides New Orleans with an intriguing option to lead their offense.

Saints Asked Drew Brees To Come Out Of Retirement

With Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian on the COVID-19 list, the Saints asked Drew Brees if he’d be interested in returning to the field (Twitter link via Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football). The legendary quarterback, who seems quite happy in retirement, replied with a picture of himself golfing.

[RELATED: Latest On Saints’ COVID Surge] 

Brees’ response was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, Underhill hears (Twitter link), a polite “no thanks” to his employer of 15 years. For what it’s worth, Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune hears that Brees gave it some serious thought. But, even after talking things over with head coach Sean Payton, Brees declined.

There was similar chatter earlier this year, after Jameis Winston suffered a season-ending knee injury. Brees, live on NBC with broadcast partner Mike Tirico, said he’d stick to his new day job.

Let me check [my phone],” Brees said jokingly when asked about his availability to play later that week. “I’ll be there Saturday to call the Notre Dame-Navy game, and I’ll be [in the broadcast booth on] Sunday.

Brees, 43 in January, will be somewhere else when the Saints host the Dolphins on Monday night. Unless Hill or Siemian are cleared, the Saints will start fourth-round rookie Ian Book with newcomer Blake Bortles as the QB2.

Drew Brees: I Won’t Return To Saints

Drew Brees is not walking through that door. After Jameis Winston suffered a potentially season-ending knee injury, the former Saints quarterback told NBC broadcast partner Mike Tirico that he will not consider a mid-season return (via NOLA.com). 

[RELATED: Saints Fear Torn ACL For Jameis Winston] 

Let me check [my phone],” Brees said jokingly when asked about his availability to play this week. “I’ll be there Saturday to call the Notre Dame-Navy game, and I’ll be [in the broadcast booth on] Sunday,” Brees said.

Brees, 42, seems happy in his post-football career. He’s also confident in backup Trevor Siemian, who guided the Saints to victory over the Bucs following Winston’s exit.

I think he’s going to do well,” Brees said. “That’s exactly why he brought him in last year when I got hurt. He’s a cerebral guy who can pick up the system quickly. He can execute it. The bottom line is he has two really good running backs and a great defense. He’ll play within the system and I think Sean Payton has a lot of confidence in him.”

The Saints won’t have the 13-time Pro Bowler back under center, but they could see Taysom Hill return this week once he clears concussion protocol.

Saints’ Drew Brees Officially Placed On Retired List

The Saints officially placed quarterback Drew Brees on the reserve/retired list (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Field Yates). Of course, Brees already announced his retirement earlier this year. But, for cap reasons, the move was delayed until after June 1st. 

After 20 years as a player in the NFL and 15 years as a Saint, it is time I retire from the game of football. Each day, I poured my heart and soul into being your Quarterback. ‘Til the very end, I exhausted myself to give everything I had to the Saints organization, my team, and the great city of New Orleans. We shared some amazing moments together, many of which are emblazoned in our hearts and minds and will forever be a part of us,” Brees said, back in March.

With the 13-time Pro Bowler out of the picture, the Saints are heading into ’21 with Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston as their top QBs. Hill offers athleticism, Winston has a cannon arm, but neither player has experience to compare to Brees. Unfortunately, Father Time ultimately caught up with the future Hall of Famer, so the Saints will have to adjust.

Brees, who has the most passing yards in league history, leaves the game with upwards of $250MM in career earnings — not including his off-the-field endorsements. That should be just enough to hold him in retirement.