In Peter King’s latest MMQB podcast, featuring Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Brees weighed in on the topic of concussions and player safety in the NFL.
The topic continues to be a hot one around the league, with Panthers quarterback Cam Newton the latest high-profile player to go through concussion protocol after an injury in Week 4 against the Falcons.
Brees called it “nearly impossible” to rely on players to self-report head injuries. “I think it’s hard to expect guys to do that,” he told King.
Brees added that he didn’t think he would ever self-report a potential concussion, recalling a 2004 game playing for the Chargers against the Jets in which he was concussed, chipped his teeth after a hit, then chose to play another quarter. “I knew things were not right,” Brees said, but admitted that he didn’t sit out of the game until then-Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron convinced him not to play for his own health.
“I wasn’t going to pull myself out,” he explained. “It was a close game, trying to go win, I wasn’t gonna pull myself out.”
The Saints quarterback placed the onus on the NFLPA to lead discussions about player safety going forward.
“I think that it’s a joint effort, between the P.A. and the NFL. I don’t think that we as players can just rely on the NFL to do those things. I think it has to be a joint effort, and I think it really has to be driven by the Players Association, just as it was during this last round of negotiations.
“Our No. 1 priority going into those negotiations in 2011 was to improve player health and safety. And I think that we made huge strides in doing that, and I think that we’ve made it known that that is, and will always be our No. 1 priority.”
Listen to King's The MMQB podcasts here.