WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. — It seems both coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees are confident they can tap into the fountain of youth.
The 35-year-old Brees is predicting he’ll play until he’s 45, and Payton followed up that goal with one of his own: to coach until he’s 80.
Some might wonder if it’s the legendary healing powers of the Greenbrier’s spring water talking, but both Payton and Brees say it’s all about attitude and preparation.
"If I tell myself I’m 25, then I’m 25," Brees said. "That’s honest to God my mindset. I can play for another 10 years. That’s my goal."
Payton, who personally completed the players’ conditioning test at the start of training camp, says he fully buys in to Brees’ age-defying philosophy.
"I feel 30, and I want to coach until I’m 80," the 50-year-old Payton said. "It is a credit to A, not only to Drew’s mental preparation, but how he takes care of himself. I’ve said this time and time again, he is a very routine-driven person with regards to exercise, diet. If you just want to get his attention you just say, ‘Hey they have gluten free pancakes today’ and he would be like, ‘Where?’ He pays attention to all of that. That means a lot when you talk about years in this league."
Brees admits he’s tweaking things to keep himself at the top of his game: maintenance and recovery are more important now. A consistent sleep pattern is essential. However, both Brees and Payton are confident he’s getting the results he’s looking for.
"There’s nothing that I can’t do now that I could do 10 or 15 years ago," Brees said.
Brees, the soon-to-be father of four, points to fellow quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Brett Favre as proof of the effectiveness of an "older" quarterback.
"Peyton Manning was 37 last year and had arguably his best year," Brees said. "Brett Favre had arguably his best season at 40."