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HomeSportsDrew Brees addresses report about future at NBC, hints at NFL return

Drew Brees addresses report about future at NBC, hints at NFL return

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The remarkable game of musical chairs among big-name NFL analysts and announcers this offseason took another turn Sunday when Drew Brees addressed a report that he was “done” at NBC — and hinted at a possible return to the NFL.

“Despite speculation from media about my future this fall, I’m currently undecided,” Brees, 43, wrote in a post shared on Twitter. “I may work for NBC, I may play football again, I may focus on business and philanthropy, I may train for the pickleball tour, senior golf tour, coach my kids or all of the above. I’ll let you know.”

Brees took to social media several hours after the New York Post reported he will leave NBC after spending one season as a professional and college football analyst for the network following his March 2021 retirement from the New Orleans Saints.

Citing unidentified sources, the New York Post reported the decision to part ways “seemed mutual” and stemmed in part from Brees’s preference to work in the booth for games rather than in the studio. NBC is set to televise just one NFL game per week this fall and still has longtime game analyst Cris Collinsworth to fill his familiar role on Sunday nights.

Brees spent most of last season as an analyst on NBC telecasts of Notre Dame games and as a studio analyst on Sundays. When NBC had two NFL playoff games on one January weekend, Brees and Notre Dame announcing partner Mike Tirico were assigned to a matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Las Vegas Raiders. Brees garnered a notable amount of criticism from observers, some of whom felt he was a bland presence and failed to provide enough insight on important moments.

Tirico will join Collinsworth this season on “Sunday Night Football” after Al Michaels signed with Amazon to call games on Thursday nights with Kirk Herbstreit, a longtime college football analyst for ESPN. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman moved to ESPN for “Monday Night Football” after many years as the top announcing team for Fox Sports. That has left an analyst void at Fox that has yet to be filled — at least until Tom Brady retires and joins Kevin Burkhardt, who was promoted to replace Buck as the network’s No. 1 play-by-play man for the NFL.

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Greg Olsen, a former NFL tight end who impressed many last season in his debut as a Fox analyst, appears to be well-positioned to temporarily replace Aikman. However, the New York Post reported later Sunday that, per sources, Brees is “in the mix” to take that spot. Even if Olsen or someone else gets that gig, Fox could have a need for an analyst on its No. 2 team, giving Brees multiple potential opportunities there.

Of course, the more intriguing — if seemingly remote — scenario has Brees coming back to play in the NFL. He dropped a further indication of interest with another tweet Sunday evening praising the Saints’ recent free agent additions of wide receiver Jarvis Landry and safety Tyrann Mathieu.

“Man … signing [Landry] and [Mathieu] makes me want to come back and play again!!!” Brees exclaimed on Twitter. “Great additions … leaders and players!”

Among those taking note of that tweet might have been Jameis Winston, who took over as the Saints’ primary quarterback last year before suffering a season-ending injury and who again is penciled in as the starter in New Orleans. Winston may have to win a training camp battle with the recently acquired Andy Dalton, but that could be a less daunting task than holding off a franchise legend in Brees should the latter decide to again strap on the pads.

Alternatively, Brees could come back to play for a different team. Might the Carolina Panthers, a division rival to the Saints looking at a camp battle between the underwhelming Sam Darnold and third-round draft pick Matt Corral, have any interest?

It almost certainly won’t come to that, given Brees’s age and struggles to stay healthy over his final two seasons. However, he posted solid numbers when on the field and could be salivating over a Saints wide receiver corps featuring Landry alongside Michael Thomas and explosive first-round draft pick Chris Olave.

Or perhaps Brees will examine the numerous options he outlined Sunday and choose to get into professional pickleball. The important thing is that, as a member of the media — for the time being, anyway — he has pledged to keep everyone fully informed of his plans.

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