Call me overly cynical if you must, but one of my unprovable theories is that one of the reasons networks lean into hiring high-profile quarterbacks the moment they retire is so they can ride the inevitable wave of speculation surrounding a return to the field. Brett Favre's diligent Ross Perot impression, in which he was in then out then in then out again, established the state of play for faithful gunslingers riding their horse into the sunset. The public and media alike must wonder if they'll turn that old colt around and ride back into town for a few more shootouts.
People flirted with Tony Romo's second act for a few years after he hung up his cleats before it became clear his future was in broadcasting and playing golf. Jay Cutler had a cup of coffee with Fox before floating back to the NFL. With quarterbacks playing longer and longer and pipeline into the top gigs, this doesn't figure to change.
Drew Brees, who recently joined NBC, was asked the required question by his new colleague Mike Tirico in today's Football Morning in America column. Synergy!
“I better get my butt going if that’s the case. There is a saying that if you don’t use it, you lose it. That’s the truth, my arm is killing me because I haven’t been training to throw. I actually feel worse now than at any other point in my career. I may have one throw, one series, one drive.”
Those don't sound like the words of someone itching to throw a few last touchdowns. Those sound like the words of any other 42-year-old who spent the weekend throwing batting practice to a travel team. Old. Tired. With no illusions of further athletic glory on the horizon.
So ... asked and answered? Or simply asked and answered for the first time with plenty of subsequent times on the horizon?
Smart money is on the latter.