Drew Brees’ return to the New Orleans Saints is a proposition that Brees himself has tiptoed around for the last year, and he recently opened up about his choice to stay in retirement.
The Brees rumors that clouded last season’s quarterback controversy largely contributed to turbulence and instability within the Saints’ camp. Much as one might pluck petals off a flower, Saints fans anxiously awaited Brees’ response to all the drama: he will come back, he won’t come back, he may come back for just one game, he may never come back at all.
On a recent episode of the Dan Patrick Show, Drew Brees spoke about just how close he was to returning to play football for NOLA:
"“I was very close. I was very close to coming back to play for that one game. There were some other factors and other circumstances, but I think it always lives inside you, that fire. You’re just wired a certain way.”"
Brees is referring to the Week 16 game against the Miami Dolphins when Taysom Hill was injured and Trevor Siemian had contracted COVID-19. Ian Book started under center with Blake Bortles as backup, and New Orleans lost that game, losing crucial ground in the playoff race.
Brees claims he almost came back to play “one game,” and in truth maybe he could have played in a few more to give the Saints a boost into postseason contention.
New Orleans Saints legend Drew Brees was “very close” to playing for team in 2021
Though he hung up his boots in 2020, Brees has often been rumored as a potential stand-in option for the Saints after Jameis Winston suffered a season-ending injury.
He never ended up donning the black and gold in 2021, but he told Dan Patrick that he would seriously consider a quarterback position today if any NFL teams came calling. At the same time, Brees expressed the need to “channel” that “fire” into other areas of his life as well:
"“That’s what hard about retirement. You have to find other ways to channel that competitive drive and that fire. I wouldn’t say that’s been easy, but it’s just the way we’re wired and that’s what we have to find.”"
In the wake of Tom Brady’s retirement, in which Brady said “never say never” and left the door wide open for a potential return, Brees seems to be following suit.
2022 marks the beginning of a new season, but it’s one that hopefully won’t see Brees suiting up in the Saints locker room. It’s time for both of them to move on.