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Is this Drew Brees’ “final season”?

Mike Florio and Chris Simms rank the top current quarterback rivalries in the NFL, from Jackson vs. Mahomes to Wilson vs. Rodgers.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees has not said whether he’ll play in 2021. Saints coach Sean Payton may have done that for him.

While discussing the current and future plans for quarterback Taysom Hill on ESPN, Payton said this: “Then the unique situation with our team and with our quarterback, Drew Brees, is he’s announced he’s coming back for his final season.”

But Brees hasn’t made any such announcement. Unless Payton misspoke, the announcement has been made.

While not a stunner, the notion that this is Brees’ final season creates a farewell-tour vibe that otherwise wouldn’t have existed. At some point before the season starts, someone surely will be asking Brees whether it truly is his last season -- and whether he has a response to Payton’s potentially Freudian slip that it is.

Brees has been thinking about retirement for a while. He told PFT Live on the Friday before the Super Bowl that, after the team’s struggles of 2013-16, Brees entered the 2017 season with a belief that he’d retire, in the event the season went poorly.

It didn’t. And every season since then has gone extremely well, keeping the Saints in the mix for a potential return to the Super Bowl, possibly in what apparently will be Brees’ final season.