The New Orleans Saints quarterback and unquestioned leader's eyes and body language spoke volumes after his injury in Sunday's 49ers contest.
The first time in 15 years. Let that set into your spirit. I heard what Coach Payton said about Brees in the video press conference, but I also watched his eyes and body language.
The tension was evident. Sean Payton had concerns, of course. But also, there were questions. Most noticeable was in regards to the future of his quarterback and field general, Drew Brees.
As I examined the game and the subsequent series of events, Drew's eyes told the story as well. The typical steely confidence of Brees appeared uncertain and troubled.
His body - able to do or not be able to do - but not in pain? If there wasn't pain preventing him from continuing in the contest, what exactly was the issue. Was it more than any physical limitations? Was it a combination of both? Or, was it a leader who knows absorbing any additional hits from a defender could spell more damage and take its toll on a 41-year-old body.
I watched him as he ascended from the playing field after the massive 49ers, Street, landing on top of him. Drew tried to shake it off, but he was in pain. Yet, being the true leader that he is, he guided the team to another before-the-half touchdown. Brees' usual bounce in his steps were not there while going towards the sidelines. I looked worried.
His body language and eyes spoke volumes - after the touchdown, after halftime with Coach Payton, and in the post-game media call.
Whether it is his ribs or other damage, I would be more concerned about any damage to his psyche. The older you get, the more time your body needs to rebound from injury.
Drew Brees is a competitor. There are very few who have chosen to question his passion and heart for the game. Football is the game and career that has taken a toll on his body - shoulder, foot, thumb, and ribs. Could it be, the injuries have finally begun to affect other areas of Drew Brees?
Brees can rebound and regain his health. Only time can answer the questions ahead. For now, we will wait and observe how the Saints and Drew will proceed after the results of today's MRI. Will it be the second consecutive year the Saints' leader will deal with a major injury?
We shall see.