Sean Payton and Drew Brees’ relationship has always been special. But after 15 seasons, 7 NFC South titles, and 1 glorious Super Bowl, Brees called it an NFL career in March. Sean Payton had an honest admission to not having Drew Brees in the locker room anymore.
Drew Brees’s retirement didn’t come as a shock to anyone. But not having 1 of your franchise cornerstones, especially a QB, is always a difficult move for any HC.
Perhaps the greatest story of Payton and Brees’ illustrious career is the 2006 New Orleans Saints season. The city of New Orleans was crushed by Hurricane Katrina. And in the midst of horror, the Saints were a ray of sunshine for the people of New Orleans. In only their first season, Brees and Payton led the Saints to a 13-3 record and a place in the NFC Championship game.
OTD 2006: 393 days after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the Superdome, which had served as a “refuge of last resort”, reopens as the #Saints play the Falcons on MNF.
Steve Gleason’s remarkable, emotional blocked punt is the signature play in the Saints’ 23-3 triumph. pic.twitter.com/rP195elKGG
— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) September 25, 2020
Drew Brees has an ELITE resume after 20 years in the NFL 🤯
Respect to the NOLA legend
Next stop, Canton pic.twitter.com/9rDPxf2scS
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 14, 2021
Sean Payton said the Drew Brees’ departure hasn’t hit yet
“I think it’ll be different the first time we have an OTA, the first time we have a minicamp, or the first time we get into training camp,” Payton told Albert Breer. “It hasn’t hit you quite yet because you haven’t done anything football-related. You’re involved in draft work, free-agent work. I’m sure there’ll be a couple of stages to it where it’s the first meeting, first practice and so on
“A transition like this, man, it happens at so many other positions,” Payton said. “It’s obviously more significant because it’s QB and because it’s someone like Drew. But I think it’s part of what we do, and immediately your focus shifts, which it should, to the next thing, which is the players you have on the field.
And the players that are on your roster. You take [Jonathan] Vilma, you take Jahri Evans, guys that had been here quite a while. It’s different, they’re not quarterbacks. And yet you get so conditioned to move on.
We’re not there yet because we haven’t any practices, we haven’t turned around with something coming up where we’re like, ‘That’s something Drew would’ve handled.’ We haven’t had that moment yet. I’m sure there’ll be a few of them. But it’s a young team, that’s what’s exciting.”
How do you replace a franchise icon under center?
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 5, 2021
Sean Payton has always been regarded as one of the best offensive minds in the league. And in 2021, he’ll be put to the test. The battle to be QB1 and Brees’ successor between Jamies Winston and Taysom Hill will be highly anticipated. And after coming off an impressive 12-4, it will be very interesting to see the Saints in 2021.