Amid so much darkness, there was almost a Christmas miracle in New Orleans.
A team ravaged by COVID-19 — especially in its quarterback room — tried to talk its way to the most exciting gift it could open.
Alas, Drew Brees ultimately said no.
According to a fascinating Times-Picayune story Saturday, the Saints called their future Hall of Famer and the current NBC analyst about returning to the team amid the COVID-19 chaos that it is fighting.
Brees reportedly was New Orleans’ first call after Jameis Winston was lost for the year and Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian were sidelined because of the health and safety protocols. Rookie Ian Book is expected to start Monday night against the Dolphins.
According to the report, head coach Sean Payton himself called Brees, who was in Hawaii with his family and actually gave the idea some thought.
Brees, who retired after last season, is 42 and has looked rejuvenated in his role with NBC. After some thought, though, Brees decided against coming out of retirement because he wasn’t sure if his arm could still make all the throws he would need to — although if anyone could step into that offense without any preparation, it would be Brees.
Other QBs the team contacted, according to the report, included Josh McCown, who hasn’t played since 2019, and Philip Rivers, who retired after last season. Saints legend Archie Manning, too, texted Payton photos of Peyton, Eli and grandsons Arch and Marshall and offered the services of any.
Instead, the Saints signed former Jaguar Blake Bortles to back up Book.