The 2020 postseason could be the last time fans see New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in action.
Brees is likely to retire when the NFL season is over, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday, though the veteran hasn’t made it official.
Brees likely to retire after 2020 NFL season
Brees, who turns 42 on Jan. 15, finished out his 20th NFL regular season last week.
“I have yet to talk to one person who believes that Drew Brees will play in 2021,” Rapoport said. “He has not made clear his decision, he has not announced definitively that he is retiring after the playoffs, but certainly that seems to be the way this is headed.
“As you mentioned, he has an NBC contract waiting. (He) may have done it last year, (but) decided to come back this year and give one final ride, see if he can ride off into the sunset, end his season on a podium holding a trophy. And this is another reason, by the way, the team wanted to get an extended look at Taysom Hill when Drew Brees was out with about 35 rib fractures, just to see what they have next year at the quarterback position. That is still ongoing, and of course, we'll see how Brees finishes it out.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported after Week 17 that “most people believe” it’s Brees’ final season. He reportedly considered retirement after last season and announced his return in mid-February, less than a month before the start of free agency. The last handful of years have been widely viewed as the end for the veteran, who won Super Bowl XLIV and is a lock for the Hall of Fame.
Brees: Post-retirement booth job lined up
Brees already has a post-retirement gig lined up wand waiting for him. The quarterback signed a deal with NBC and will be “groomed as the potential replacement for Cris Collinsworth,” the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reported in April of 2020.
He’ll start as an analyst for Notre Dame football games and a studio analyst for “Football Night in America,” per the report.
It’s easier to leave one job with another waiting in the pipeline.
Brees, Saints chase another Super Bowl
Most quarterbacks want to go out on top, and Brees has another chance to do so. The No. 2-seeded Saints begin their playoff run Sunday against the seventh seed Chicago Bears, and the game can be live-streamed on the Yahoo Sports app.
If the Saints win, they draw Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round. Brees and Brady have never met in the playoffs. The No. 1 Green Bay Packers, who had a bye, would then play the Los Angeles Rams.
The Saints have suffered repeated playoff heartbreak in recent years, and while Brees doesn’t need another trophy to solidify his legacy, it would certainly add to it.
"It's hard to put him in categories with some of the other greats that have found themselves in numerous Super Bowls"@kurt13warner on how another Super Bowl would help Drew Brees' legacy pic.twitter.com/xBINJPH3g4
— NFL GameDay (@NFLGameDay) January 10, 2021
Career covers two decades for Brees
Brees has been to 13 Pro Bowls and earned two Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year awards (2008, 2011). He was a second-round pick of the then-San Diego Chargers in the 2001 NFL draft and spent his first five seasons there. In 2004 he was named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year.
He signed with the New Orleans Saints during the 2006 free agency period while rehabbing from a shoulder injury.
“... I just felt that energy in New Orleans," Brees said when he signed the contract. “From the very beginning there was a genuine feeling that they wanted me there. They believe I can come back from this shoulder injury and lead them to a championship. They were as confident as I am, and that meant a lot.”
Brees has become a community leader in the New Orleans area. He has a career regular season record of 172-114 and is atop the NFL career leaderboard in multiple categories. He’s first in passing yards (80,358), second in touchdowns (571), second in game-winning drives (53) and fourth in games started (286).
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