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Drew Brees has had a challenging 2020. Off the field, in addition to dealing with the pandemic, the New Orleans Saints quarterback found himself in a firestorm of controversy this summer over kneeling during the national anthem. 

On the field, after a season-opening win over Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, the Saints lost back-to-back games. Many pointed to Brees who struggled to throw the ball down the field. Despite those early-season struggles, the Saints rebounded and have reeled off four straight wins. That winning streak, however, could now be in jeopardy as the team announced Brees is suffering from a right shoulder injury and it’s limited him in practice. This is an ominous sign for the Saints and the rest of the 2020 season.  

Drew Brees struggles in early 2020

Coming into the 2020 NFL season, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints had high expectations. After a disappointing end to the 2019 campaign losing in the Wild Card game to the Minnesota Vikings, the New Orleans fans thought this year, possibly Brees’ last, could be the year to make another deep run in the playoffs.

After a season-opening win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and one in which Brees threw for just 160 yards, the Saints suffered back-to-back losses to the Las Vegas Raiders and Green Bay Packers. Many experts questioned if something was wrong with Brees and his throwing arm because he was rarely throwing the ball down the field.  

However, that speculation eventually died down as Drew Brees led the Saints on a four-game win streak. 

Drew Brees’ ailing shoulder limits him in practice

At the midway point of the season, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have a 5-2 record as they prepare for a rematch of the season opener this weekend against Brady and the Bucs. On Wednesday, the team made a surprising announcement that the 41-year-old quarterback was limited at practice due to a right shoulder injury. 

Unsurprisingly, Brees downplayed the report to media following practice and suggested it was “pretty standard.” When pressed about his shoulder being wrapped up, Brees said he wasn’t concerned.

“I’m 41 years old. I’ve got a lot of stuff going on. Just keep ticking,” he said.

Shoulder injury almost ended his career 15 years ago

When people hear Drew Brees and shoulder injury, it automatically evokes memories of 15 years ago, when he first suffered what many thought to be a career-ending injury to his shoulder during the final game of the 2005 season with the then-San Diego Chargers. 

Brees was diving to recover a fumbled ball in the contest when Denver Broncos defensive tackle Gerard Warren hit him on the ground. Brees got up gingerly holding his arm as he had suffered a dislocated shoulder, a 360-degree tear of his labrum, and a 50 percent tear of his rotator cuff. 

A week after the injury, world-renowned surgeon James Andrews performed arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage. He inserted 11 anchors in the labrum and two more in the rotator cuff. Brees endured months of painful rehabilitation just to restore full range of motion.

After the Chargers failed to re-sign Brees to a new deal, the Miami Dolphins expressed interest but ultimately backed out due to concern over his shoulder injury. The Saints never wavered, swooped in, and signed him to a six-year, $60 million deal. 

As they say, the rest is history. And if there’s anyone who knows about history, it’s Drew Brees who has made more than his share of it in the NFL. Now the question is to what extent that troubled shoulder alters the writing of what is likely the final chapter.

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