It remains unthinkable that quarterback Drew Brees will miss a game or even a training-camp practice with the Saints. Then again, it previously seemed unthinkable that Brees would have missed a single offseason workout, especially since he went to such lengths in 2011 to arrange workouts at a time when all players were locked out.
Interim coach Joe Vitt didn’t say that it would be unthinkable — or even inconceivable — for Brees to fail to show up. But Vitt expressed hope that the ongoing game of chicken between the team and its best player will end well.
“I feel confident he’s going to be here,” Vitt said Thursday, via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. “He’ll be here.”
As Vitt sees it, Brees has no alternatives to football. “What else is he going to do, he can’t sing or dance,” Vitt said.
Pressed on the issue, Vitt said he’s “pretty sure” Brees will be there.
“Listen, I don’t think anybody thought this was going to be easy,” Vitt said. “We talked about the lockout last year, ‘Well, they’re going to come back then, they’re going to come back here.’ I think everybody knew it was going to come back to the 23rd hour and it would get done. There’s a lot of revolving pieces Mickey [Loomis] has to get in with the cap and so on and so forth. This is going to get done, and it’s going to get done when Drew and Mickey know what’s best for our football team and we can move forward.”
The real question is when does the 23rd hour come? It wasn’t the start of the offseason program. And it wasn’t the launch of Organized Team Activities.
Is it July 16, the deadline for doing a multi-year deal? Or is it the start of training camp?
Is it Week One of the regular season? Or could it be Week 10, the deadline for showing up or sitting out the whole season?
Until we know when both sides believe the clock will be striking 12, there’s no way to know when to expect Vitt’s optimism to come to fruition.