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Sean Payton Admits He Called Drew Brees This Season

Sean Payton talking to Drew Brees before a Saints game.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 08: Drew Brees #9 and head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints talk prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes Benz Superdome on December 08, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Few teams were bit as badly by the injury/COVID bug as the New Orleans Saints in 2021. So much so that back in December, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Sean Payton reached out to Drew Brees about a possible return to the Saints in Week 16.

As we know, Brees didn't come back. And former Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book stepped in for the Monday night game with both Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian on the COVID at the time.

At his goodbye press conference, Sean Payton admitted that he did call his longtime QB and NBC commentator. “I spoke to [Drew Brees] at length last night about this decision for the first time and he was fantastic,” Payton said of his decision to step down. “And I did call him during the season and we discussed him coming back. And I think both of us agreed, based on our lineup versus Miami it was a good thing he stayed [with NBC] and didn’t come.”

Brees spent 15 seasons in New Orleans before retiring in 2020. He and Payton helped revive the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, winning a Super Bowl in 2009.

The Saints ended up getting crushed 20-3 in that game. Book took eight sacks and threw two interceptions, including a pick-six on his second career pass attempt.