Saints quarterback Drew Brees started recruiting his old Chargers teammate Darren Sproles during the lockout, so the reality that his versatile running back wouldn’t be back in New Orleans is hitting him.
And he doesn’t like it.
“That was one of the tougher ones for me,” Brees said, via Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. “I feel like that was my guy, that was my pick and I wanted that to last forever. But unfortunately, it didn’t last forever.”
Of course, Brees should get used to it, because the change has been frequent for the Saints. From the early purge of defensive veterans to the trade of Sproles, the dismantling of their Super Bowl XLIV team is well under way, with just six players left from that squad.
“That’s crazy. That was just four years ago,” Brees said. “It’s tough, because a lot of those guys I’ve played with for eight years. Eight years. Which is rare. I’d say that’s very rare in this day and age, to have that amount of time with a group of guys. You become very connected during that time, so it’s always hard when you get to this point.
“It’s going to be a new team in a lot of ways, a lot of young guys stepping up into roles that maybe they haven’t been in before and it’s where the new leaders emerge. You kind of forge a new identity a little bit.”
They’re going to have to do that around Brees, and eventually franchise-tagged Jimmy Graham, as parts begin to fade away from the Saints glory days.