As the NFL’s oldest starting quarterback at age 39, Drew Brees has heard all the talk – that he’s too old, his arm strength and accuracy were history and the New Orleans Saints had better find a replacement and fast. And that talk grew only louder with the Saints’ trade for Teddy Bridgewater at the end of training camp.
But Brees, now entering his 18th NFL season and 13th in the Big Easy, isn’t quite ready to go. Witness his vintage Week 1 performance against Tampa Bay, in which he connected on 37 of 45 passes for 439 yards and three touchdowns (and no interceptions) in a 48-40 home loss. And he nearly pulled off the win, leading the Saints back from a 24-point third-quarter deficit only to have his efforts negated by turnovers and shoddy defensive play.
Brees – who leads the Saints against the Washington Redskins Monday, Oct. 8, on ESPN – is in the first year of a two-year, $50 million contract, during which time he figures to lead the heavily stacked Saints back to the playoffs and even contend for another Super Bowl berth. He’ll also serve as a mentor for Bridgewater, his heir apparent and a 25-year-old former first-round pick who played like a budding star in his short time as the Minnesota Vikings’ starter before losing the last two seasons to a catastrophic knee injury.
No matter what happens from here on in, Brees’ place as a future Hall of Famer is already secure – 11 Pro Bowls, numerous awards, passing yards and touchdown titles and a 2009 league championship among many other honors. He’d just like to go out with at least one more Super Bowl ring in his trophy case.
Full name: Drew Christopher Brees
Birth date: Jan. 15, 1979
Birthplace: Austin, Texas
Height/weight: 6 feet/209 pounds
Teams: San Diego Chargers (2001-05), New Orleans Saints (2006-present)
Drafted: Selected in the second round (32nd overall) by the Chargers in 2001
Honors and achievements: Super Bowl XLIV MVP; 11-time Pro Bowl selection; two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year; Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (2006), NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2004), seven-time NFL passing-yards leader; four-time NFL passing touchdowns leader.