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Drew Brees says concussion safety has to be driven by NFLPA

In Peter King’s latest MMQB podcast, Brees weighed in on the topic of concussions and player safety in the NFL.
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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.

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“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.