If Sunday was indeed the last game Drew Brees ever plays in the NFL, it has been one heck of a ride.
The New Orleans Saints quarterback appears poised to hang up the cleats for good and head to the NBC broadcast booth to begin his media career.
Al Michaels, who will likely soon be Brees’ co-worker, eloquently summed up the future Hall of Famer’s career during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show podcast Monday morning.
“With Brees, you look at not only the numbers, but the quality of the individual,” Michaels said. “It’s one of the great stories I’ve seen in the National Football League, ever.”
Michaels pointed back to the beginning of Brees’ career as an undersized quarterback with the San Diego Chargers and how the organization was ready to draft Eli Manning – which instead turned to Philip Rivers – after Brees struggled in his second season with the Chargers.
Once Brees hit free agency, the Miami Dolphins were interested in him but were hesitant of his shoulder injury, so instead the New Orleans Saints took a chance on him as the franchise was reeling from Hurricane Katrina.
“You have Katrina on top of it and the town becomes a mess,” Michaels said. “It looked like at one point the league was going to have to move the franchise out of there, and they don’t. They spend the whole year playing in San Antonio and Baton Rouge as the city got rebuilt.”
But Brees came in and put together the first All-Pro season of his career in 2006. In 2008, he led the league with 5,069 passing yards and 34 touchdowns and then in 2009 he led the Saints to the franchise’s first Super Bowl.
“I guess the knock would be that he only won one Super Bowl,” Michaels said. “I mean, come on already.”
Brees would finish atop the NFL’s all-time passing yards leader with 80,358 (which Tom Brady could pass next season if he returns) and second to Brady as the NFL’s all-time touchdown leader with 571.
“When you look at the body of his career, his work, it’s astonishing,” Michaels said. “Obviously, he goes into the Hall of Fame, first ballot, unanimous.”