Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Brees 'serious' about playing to age 45
By Mike Triplett
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Drew Brees said he was joking when he tweeted about how suspicious it was that he was “randomly” drug tested by the NFL twice after claiming he wants to play until he’s 45 years old.
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But when it comes to those comments themselves about wanting playing for another 10 years, Brees said he was dead serious.
“I’m not delusional. I know that that’s something that would be extremely difficult to do,” Brees said. “I know it’s one year at a time and it’s, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ You have to come out each and every year, prove it, be consistent and all of those things.
“But why not push the envelope a little bit. Crazier things have happened.”
I followed up with Brees on the subject Tuesday because I suspected that he was indeed serious when he threw that lofty goal out there. And not only did he insist he was serious, but he offered a lot of insight into what makes him tick.
“Not many have done that,” Brees said. “George Blanda, he was plenty past 45. I’ve played with a couple of kickers, [John] Carney, John Kasay, of course Morten Anderson played past 45. Vinnie Testaverde was 44. It can be done. A lot of things would have to fall into place.
“I think throughout your career you hit certain milestones. I came in this league as a second-round pick to the San Diego Chargers. They signed Doug Flutie in free agency so I knew I was coming into a backup position for Doug Flutie. At that point your goal becomes, ‘You know what, I just want to become a starter in this league and earn a starting role.’ So then the minute you kind of get that, then, ‘OK, what’s the next step? I want to be a really good player. I want to be a Pro Bowl player in this league.’ Then you accomplish that, now, ‘It’s my fourth year, I think I can make it to double digits. I can play 10 years in this league.’ Then you hit that, then you are like, ‘OK, I want to play until I’m 35.’ Now I’m 35, so what’s the next thing? That is where my head is at. …
“It’s certainly not going to be easy, but I try to play this game like I am a kid and have fun like I did when I was playing it, tossing the ball down the street with my brother, buddies from school or whatever. I still have that playful mentality when it comes to it, so you enjoy coming to work every day. This is a serious business. They don’t keep you around if you aren’t playing well. You still have to play at a high level. You have to find a way to take care of your body and make good decisions in regards to that. I believe I can do that.”
So can Brees really do it? I’m not going to rule it out.
For one thing, Brees has shown no real signs of slowing down. Yes, he had some uncharacteristic struggles on the road last season, but he was as dominant as ever inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. And his final numbers in almost every major passing category ranked among the three best in his tenure with the New Orleans Saints (5,162 yards, 39 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 68.6 completion percentage and 104.7 passer rating).
For another things, Brees’ game doesn’t rely on superior arm strength or athleticism as much as it does his mental game, his instincts, his quick decision-making and his accuracy.
But more than anything else, Brees is one of the most driven, determined competitors the league has ever seen. And he said the other day that he’s motivated by trying to accomplish things that have never been done before or that people consider impossible. So if nothing else, Brees may just stubbornly will himself to keep thriving for another decade.