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Drew Brees vague about returning to Saints, but I expect he’ll be back

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Dec 18, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Saints defeated the Cardinals 48-41. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Saints defeated the Cardinals 48-41. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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It’s hard to imagine anyone behind center for the Black and Gold besides Drew Brees. It is a reality that we will have to face at some point. But that point may come sooner than we expected.

I don’t expect Drew Brees to go anywhere after his contract expires in 2017. I expect he’ll resign with the Saints, hopefully for a few more years. But of course I have a faint shred of doubt: maybe he’ll go ring chasing. Or maybe he’ll tie them up sooner than later. And after Brees’ recent interview with Mike Nabors of Cox Sports, those doubts are firing. But am I reading too much into it?

Admittedly, it’s easy to blow Brees’ comments out of proportion. They are undeniably vague, and might mean anything. But they stand out because Brees almost never breaks from script in his interviews. He’s the quintessential “right answers” guy.

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So when Brees says that he’s “not sure how much longer [he] can do this,” people are going to wonder. He went on to say that he’s “tired of saying next year, next year.” That’s a sentiment that I’m sure every Saints fan, and every member of the Saints organization, can empathize with. But when it comes from Brees, it’s a bit jarring.

Brees was referring to his career, rather than his time with the Saints, when he made the comment. So I don’t think this adds much credibility to the threat of Brees leaving for distant shores.

Ultimately, I think he’s just giving voice to his feelings on the matter, not hinting at any future decision. It’d be different if Brees never got his ring. But he did. He’s now the hero of Luisiana, and I doubt the appeal of another ring is enough to bring him to tarnish that legacy.

If this makes me worry at all, it’s that Brees might tire of the grind before giving the Saints these last few years that we’ve all expected. That would be somewhat devastating for the Saints. They would, admittedly, be a highly appealing destination for FA quarterbacks. But clearly, the team’s best path would be to draft and develop a young QB behind Brees.

Next: Sean Payton will coach the Saints in 2017, and beyond.

In the end, though, I’d be shocked if the star QB retired after 2017. He’s a competitor, and he won’t go down easy. So long as the Saints make consistent improvements in the coming season, Brees will likely give it another go. New Orleans is counting on it.

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