What Peter King will remember most about Drew Brees’ NFL career

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The news about Drew Brees is unsurprising. At 42, after 20 years quarterbacking the Saints and Chargers, he announced his retirement Sunday afternoon. Actually, he didn’t announce it—his four children did, in a cute Instagram post at 5:09 p.m. ET, eight weeks after his last NFL game. This morning, he announced he’ll be joining NBC Sports as an NFL analyst.

The newsy part of the Brees retirement: The Saints, assuming they can sign Jameis Winston (likely), will bring Winston and Taysom Hill to a training-camp competition for the starting job, and may the best quarterback win. Barring a surprise, that’s how New Orleans will enter the season—with Winston or Hill the starting quarterback. (Could Russell Wilson, who has listed the Saints as a desirable destination if Seattle trades him, enter the derby? Yes, of course, but there’s no indication the Seahawks will put their franchise quarterback on the block.) The Saints have a couple of moves left before they have to be under the league’s $182.5-million cap figure, but that will happen by Wednesday.

Brees leaves after an extraordinary career as a football player and humanitarian. If you doubt the humanitarian part, you’re entitled to your opinion, but you’d be wrong. I’ll get to that. But the 32nd pick in the draft 20 years ago rose from being replaced by Philip Rivers in San Diego and being flunked on his free-agent physical by the Dolphins in 2006 to signing with moribund New Orleans 15 years ago Sunday . . . and going on to throw for more yards than any player in NFL history.

Brees the player, at 6 feet in heels, was great enough. But it’s entirely possible that no player has meant as much to a city and a state as Brees meant to New Orleans and Louisiana, arriving when the region was irretrievably wrecked by Hurricane Katrina, when a third of the populace had moved away because of the ruination of the area. A month after Brees signed with the Saints in free agency, mayor Ray Nagin said he was hoping the Saints would stay for at least one year so the city didn’t completely lose hope that it could survive. I will never forget riding in the black car with first-round pick Reggie Bush from the airport to the Saints’ facility the day he’d been drafted in the first round. Bush stared out of his window at the wreckage of the city, and his wide eyes said it all. What have I gotten myself into? He had to be thinking that.

Sunday night, I asked GM Mickey Loomis, who recruited Brees along with coach Sean Payton, about the period 15 years ago when Brees was teetering on the brink of coming—or not.

“Think of what we were up against,” Loomis said. “Coming off Katrina. Coming off a 3-13 season. New coach. Drew couldn’t have named one player on our roster, I bet. We were competing against the great Nick Saban for him. What did I have to sell? An energetic coach, plus a place he could turn around. That’s it. He came to visit us first, before Miami, and we tried to get him to commit before he got on the plane to Miami. He wouldn’t do it.

“Then we got him. Think how fortunate we were. Of the 10 coaching jobs open that year, we had to be last. We got the best coach in Sean, and we got the best player in Drew. He came to us when we were at the lowest of the lows, and he helped bring us to the highest of the highs.

“I can’t think of a player in my lifetime who meant as much to a team and a city as Drew meant to the Saints and New Orleans.”

Turns out Brees was a perfect match with Payton, who wanted a coach on the field and an accuracy machine. Brees was both. He was more. Three years after he signed with New Orleans, the Saints finished the year 13-3, with the top seed in the NFC playoffs. But before the playoffs (and the run to the only Super Bowl in franchise history) began, on the Thursday night in the Saints’ bye week, Brees sat in a private room at the luxe New Orleans eatery Commander’s Palace with some of the city’s biggest boosters. I was a fly on the wall that night. What I saw:

Brees convened what he calls his “secret society.” In the dining room were seven of the city’s richest men and biggest boosters, power players who have anonymously teamed with Brees for such post-Katrina causes as the refurbishment of Tad Gormley Stadium in City Park and the funding of the New Orleans Ballet Association’s flagging after-school program. Brees calls the group (two of the members were absent that night) the Quarterback Club. As a token of thanks for contributions past—each man gave at least $25,000 in 2009—and future, Brees dispensed black-and-gold cuff links engraved with “QB.”

“I’d like to propose a toast,” he said, lifting his champagne flute. “All of you care so deeply about the future of this city, not just from a business perspective but from a philanthropic perspective, and it’s so desperately needed right now. A toast to you, and to New Orleans!”

“Hear, hear! To New Orleans!” the group responded.

Earlier in the Saints’ bye week, their quarterback had spent two hours working on another of his pet projects, the Lusher Charter School, for which he’d help raise the money to build a new football field, weight room, scoreboard and running track after the September 2005 hurricane had devastated the facilities and the surrounding Uptown neighborhood. Now, nine days before New Orleans’s playoff opener against the Cardinals in the Superdome, Brees chatted up and rubbed elbows with the men he knew could help him do real good for the city.

“Some guys might be playing 10 hours of Madden today, which is cool,” Brees said. “But this is my outlet. This is what I love to do.

“When I visited New Orleans, I saw it all, the good and the bad. The city was devastated. Brittany [Drew’s wife] and I saw the Lower Ninth Ward. Unbelievable. Cars lying on top of houses. Boats through living-room windows. I felt like I was driving through a World War II documentary. But I just thought, This is a chance to be part of something incredible—the rebuilding of an American city. I felt like it was a calling. Like I was destined to be here.”

That is part of the Brees story. But the football is the biggest part. In NFL history, it’s hard to imagine a better coach-quarterback combination than Brees and Payton. Payton had the imagination to know what part of a defense was vulnerable, and how to pick on it. Brees had the accuracy to do the picking.

For the Saints, Payton was the coder, Brees the executer of the coding. In November 2018, in a meeting room at the Ritz-Carlton just off the French Quarter, I watched the Saints’ Saturday night offensive meeting before a game against the Eagles. The final 40 minutes of the night was Brees sitting with the offensive coaches, quarterback telling play-caller what he wanted to run. By my count, Brees okayed 46 plays that night, 46 plays that he liked a lot out of the 18 sections of Payton’s playsheet. When I asked Payton later how many of those 46 plays he hoped to call the next day, the coach said, “All of them.”

I remember Bloodhound 21, a call in the tight red zone to take advantage of a young Philadelphia secondary, a quick call to try to catch the defense swimming. Brees loved it. Payton called it, and it resulted in a three-yard touchdown laser from Brees to newbie Austin Carr. “Sean’s okay when Drew says, ‘I don’t want to do that,’ “ Carr said. “They’ve found the sweet spot in dealing with each other.”

Brees was always a prep nerd. He and Tom Brady, so similar. And Peyton Manning. I remember asking Brees a couple of years ago about advice he’d have for young quarterbacks. “So much of our league is about results, right?” he said. “We’re in a results-driven business. But truly, it is about the process. If you focus on the process, the result will take care of itself. So, simply that: Develop what your process is. Focus on that process. Too many times, we get frustrated because the result didn’t match up with the process. But if you just focus on the process, eventually you get to the point where good process will consistently equal good result.”

Good process on the field led to an amazing career. Good process off the field led to contributing to New Orleans coming out of its Katrina funk. Brees will be missed by New Orleans the city and New Orleans the football team. But he’ll be forever a beacon for what’s good about football, and what’s good about what football players can do for a city.

BREES POSTSCRIPT, Monday, 7:45 a.m. ET: As suspected, Brees announced today on NBC’s “Today” show that he’s joining the network as a football announcer. He’ll work in the booth as analyst at Notre Dame games alongside Mike Tirico this fall, and also work in the NBC studio Sunday night on “Football Night in America.” In addition, he’s expected to work on other sports programming in the NBC family, such as the Olympics and the Kentucky Derby. NBC has been after Brees for the last couple of years. One thing I’ve seen in my years at NBC is how the network works with new broadcasters to be sure they’re put in position to succeed, and so Brees will get the support from the Sunday night team that he needs. “My first thought on Drew and TV is he’ll be successful because he is so meticulous and he prepares so well,” Loomis said. That’s the feeling around football for sure. The shift from field to booth is tougher than it looks. Brees will learn that being good on TV is not just studying the teams and knowing everything about them. It’s also having that down-home way of communicating with an audience. Brees ought to be able to figure that part out too.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.

Lamar Jackson continues to exceed expectations while betting on himself this season

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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson took the ultimate chance and is betting on himself this NFL season. After failing to reach an agreement with the Ravens on a long-term extension, the Pompano Beach, Florida native, who went 32nd overall in the 2018 draft, is currently playing on the $23 million 5th-year option of his rookie contract.

Jackson reportedly turned down a 5-year offer worth roughly $250 million, with $133 million guaranteed — something many were not surprised by because Deshaun Jackson’s contract, signed this summer, changed the goalposts for QB contracts, especially for a dual-threat player like Lamar Jackson who runs the ball as well as he throws the ball. This week, Jackson will face a major early season test as the 2-2 Ravens host Joe Burrow and the 2-2 Bengals on Sunday Night Football.

RELATED: Lamar Jackson on his contract situation: Respectfully, I’m done talking about it

Lamar Jackson’s rushing ability

The 2019 NFL MVP already has 13 total touchdowns this season, including 11 pass touchdowns, and currently leads the Ravens with 316 rush yards — the most of any quarterback in the NFL this season. He also ranks in the league’s top 10 in rushing yards, for all players (ranked 9th entering Week 5). Additionally, Jackson was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month in September for the second time in his career.

Powered in part by Jackson, the Ravens offense ranked first in rush yards per game in 2019 (206) and 2020 (191.9) and was third in 2021 (145.8). In 2022, the team ranks 8th entering Week 5 (142).

What will happen with Lamar Jackson’s contract at the end of the season?

Lamar Jackson is currently set to become a free agent after the season, however, he could be franchised tagged by the Ravens.

Does Lamar Jackson have an agent?

Lamar Jackson has represented himself during negotiations while leaning on the help of his mother, Felicia Jones, and the NFLPA (which reportedly advised him that he was justified to demand a fully guaranteed deal).

What other notable contracts were recently signed by NFL quarterbacks?

  • Russell Wilson: 5 years, $245 million ($124M fully guaranteed) – August 2022
  • Kyler Murray: 5 years, $230.5 million ($103.3M fully guaranteed) – July 2022
  • Deshaun Watson: 5 years, $230 million (fully guaranteed) – March 2022
  • Josh Allen: 6 years, $258 million ($100M fully guaranteed) – August 2021
  • Patrick Mahomes: 10 years, $450 million ($63.1M fully guaranteed) – July 2020

Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals head to M&T Bank Stadium to take on Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens this week on Sunday Night Football. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America on NBC and Peacock. Kickoff time is at 8:20 p.m. See below for additional information on how to watch Sunday night’s Bengals vs Ravens matchup.

RELATED: How to watch Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens: TV, live stream info, game preview


How to watch the Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens:

  • Where: M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
  • When: Sunday, October 9
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

What time is kickoff for the Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens game?

Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

For all your tailgating needs for the 2022 Fall season, click here!


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube

How to watch the NFL on Peacock: Full Sunday Night Football Schedule, live stream info for the 2022 season

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The 2022 NFL Season is in full gear. This week it’s Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals vs Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. with Football Night in America. Kickoff time is at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.

RELATED: FMIA Week 4: Hurts At Home In Philly, Players And Parents On Football Safety, And The Case For Aaron Donald

Every Sunday Night Football game this season will be available on both NBC and Peacock. See below for the full 2022 Sunday Night Football schedule as well as additional information on how to watch every game on Peacock.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) – Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs dominate Bucs 41-31

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Bengals at Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Cowboys at Eagles

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Steelers at Dolphins

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Packers at Bills

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Titans at Chiefs

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – Chargers at 49ers

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Bengals at Steelers

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Patriots at Vikings

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers at Eagles

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Colts at Cowboys

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Chiefs at Broncos

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Patriots at Raiders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: How to watch/live stream Bengals vs Ravens game 

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

RELATED: PFT’s Week 5 2022 NFL power rankings

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

What devices are compatible with Peacock?

Peacock is available on a variety of devices. See the full list here.

In addition to Sunday Night Football, what else can I watch with Peacock Premium?

Premium is your key to unlocking everything Peacock has to offer. You’ll get access to all the live sports and events we have, including Premier League and WWE Premium Live Events like WrestleMania. You’ll also get full seasons of exclusive Peacock Original series, next-day airings of current NBC and Telemundo hits, plus every movie and show available on Peacock. There is always something new to discover on Peacock Premium.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!