NFL: Bye Bye Brees?

     The Super Bowl, which occurred on Sunday, February 7th, marked the end of the 2020-21 NFL season. The season has been quite memorable. Star players like Lamar Jackson and Alvin Kamara missed large chunks of the season due to positive COVID-19 tests. The Cleveland Browns secured a spot in the playoffs, breaking an 18-year streak of missing the postseason. The possible retirement of the New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, however, was one of the most discussed topics from this strange season.

     Drew Brees was drafted to the San Diego Chargers in 2001. After just five seasons with the team, he was let go and signed with the New Orleans Saints as a free agent. Brees has had an incredible career: he holds the NFL record for most career passing yards, has amounted 80,358 yards passing, and is second all-time in passing touchdowns, falling just ten touchdown passes behind Tom Brady, Tampa Bay’s quarterback. Brees also led his team to a Superbowl victory in 2010.

     In the 2020 season, Brees led his team to the playoffs, finishing the season with a 12-4 record. The Saints swept past the Bears in the first round of the playoffs but was unsuccessful in defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round.

     Fans have speculated throughout the season that 2020 would be Drew Brees’ last year in the NFL. Although he has not confirmed his retirement, his actions and statements suggested that 2020 would indeed be his last season. After the playoff loss, Brees stayed out on the field for nearly two hours. ESPN staff writer Mike Triplett remarked that Brees was “[making] sure to soak it all in.” Brees has initially planned to retire after the 2019 season, but decided to play an additional season. Saints fans are hopeful that Brees will return in 2021, but it is unlikely. Saints’ head coach Sean Payton said that Brees will likely make a decision on retirement in the next two weeks. When asked about the retirement, Payton said, “Oh, listen, I think that’s probably for another press conference.”

     If Drew Brees does decide to retire, he will end what is most definitely a Hall of Fame career.