Sean Payton walks back comments on Drew Brees’ future
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, sports have been pushed to the margins, but New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton seemed to drop headline news Tuesday in an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up” morning show.
After talking about his fight with and recovery from the virus, the conversation drifted to backup quarterback Taysom Hill’s role and future with the team, when Payton said, “The unique thing with our team and our quarterback Drew Brees is he announced he is coming back for his final season.”
Brees, Super Bowl XLIV Champion and MVP, a 13-time Pro-Bowler, and the 2010 Sports Illustrated Man of the Year, announced on February 18 he would return for his 20th NFL season and his 15th season in New Orleans and agreed to a 2-year, $50 million deal last month, so the statement sent a shudder through Who Dat? Nation.
Saints fans tried to process the reality that the end of the franchise’s most productive era would come to a close after the 2020 season. In addition to trying to make another run for a Super Bowl championship, the coming season would be a celebratory farewell tour for the NFL’s all-time leader in passes completed, passing yards, passing touchdowns, consecutive games with a touchdown pass, and career completion percentage.
Less than 24 hours later, Payton walked back his remark quicker than a crawfish zooming away in reverse from a predator’s threat.
“I’m a big dummy,” Payton said on a conference call with local media. “I honestly don’t know if it’s his last year. And man, that thing blew up on me. I think his plan is to take it year to year.”
As we’ve discovered over the past month, sports are entertainment. In a time of pandemic, when real losses, such as the passing of cultural icons, like Ellis Marsallis, and thousands of others, are making headlines every day, the future of an athlete’s career and its effect on his team seems like it should be an afterthought. However, it reveals a sense of hope that our world will eventually return to a sense of normality.
Right now, we need that beacon more than ever.
Our nation, our world, is facing a horrific situation, and it’s right for sports to be sidelined while we focus on battling the virus. But, as New Orleans learned in its recovery from Hurricane Katrina, being able to rally around a team has communal benefits. It’s good for mental health and overall wellbeing.
Hopefully, medical experts around the world can work to reduce the threat of COVID-19 and help us recover and return to life as normal as soon as possible.
Do your part to expedite the virus’ spread. Heed health and government expert’s guidelines. The sooner we can eradicate its threat, the sooner we can see players take the field.