Drew Brees of New Orleans Saints throws 500th career touchdown

BALTIMORE — Another week, another milestone for Drew Brees.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback became the fourth player in NFL history to throw for 500 career TD passes when he completed a 1-yard pass to tight end Benjamin Watson for a 7-3 lead in the second quarter Sunday at Baltimore.

Brees, 39, joined Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Tom Brady.

Two weeks ago, Brees broke Manning’s record for the most passing yards in NFL history. He entered Sunday’s game with 72,103 career passing yards.

Brees is also looking to add one more achievement to his career bucket list Sunday — beating the Ravens. He is 0-4 against them all-time, making them the only team he has never beaten in his 18-year career.

With a win, Brees could join Manning and Favre as the only QBs to beat all 32 teams (Brees beat the Saints early in his career with the Chargers).

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New Orleans Saints OL Jermon Bushrod mourns death of newborn daughter

New Orleans Saints offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod‘s newborn daughter has died, he wrote in a Twitter post Saturday.

Jordyn Lynn Bushrod was one week old, Bushrod said, when she died this past Thursday.

“My heart has been broken,” he wrote on Twitter. “We will get through this with faith, family and friends.”

Bushrod missed practice Thursday and Friday and didn’t make the trip to Baltimore on Saturday. A backup guard/tackle, he was downgraded from questionable to out.

Bushrod is a 12th-year veteran who played for the Saints, Bears and Dolphins before re-signing with New Orleans as a free agent this year.

ESPN’s Mike Triplett contributed to this report.

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Saints put WR Ted Ginn Jr. on injured reserve with knee injury

METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints placed veteran receiver Ted Ginn Jr. on injured reserve Thursday with a knee injury, which will mean a greater role for backups Cameron Meredith and Tre’Quan Smith.

It’s unclear if Ginn has a chance to return later this season after missing the required eight weeks. He had been dealing with a knee injury for more than a month and did not play in Week 5 before the Saints had a bye in Week 6. It was not immediately clear if he suffered a setback or if the Saints decided to give him additional time to recover.

Losing Ginn is a disappointing development for the NFL’s top-scoring offense. Ginn, 33, had one of the best seasons of his career after he joined the Saints as a free agent in 2017, posting 53 catches, 787 yards and four touchdowns in the regular season and then 12 catches, 187 yards and a TD in two playoff games.

The Saints do have good depth at the position and an obvious contingency plan in place. Smith, who was drafted in the third round out of UCF, replaced Ginn as New Orleans’ primary deep threat in Week 5 and delivered in a big way in a 43-19 rout of the Washington Redskins. Smith had three catches for 111 yards, including a 62-yard TD and a 35-yard score.

Before that, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Smith had just one catch for 18 yards on the season. But he showed his big-play ability throughout training camp and the preseason.

Meredith, meanwhile, plays both in the slot and on the outside. And he has seen his role with the Saints steadily increase since he was a healthy inactive in Weeks 1 and 2.

Meredith, 26, joined the Saints this year as a restricted free agent after he suffered a major knee injury with the Chicago Bears last summer. It took him a little while to get up to speed after he also missed time in training camp with an unspecified ailment. But he had a season-high five catches for 71 yards in Ginn’s absence in Week 5.

The Saints will also rely on Pro Bowl playmakers like No. 1 receiver Michael Thomas and the running back duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, among others.

The Saints may also have an injury concern on the offensive line this week. Both of their starting guards missed practice Thursday (Larry Warford with a back injury and Andrus Peat with a head injury). The team re-signed veteran offensive lineman Michael Ola for added depth.

In positive injury news for the Saints, top cornerback Marshon Lattimore has cleared the concussion protocol after he was sidelined during the first quarter of that Week 5 game against Washington. Lattimore has practiced fully all week and is expected to play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens and their ninth-ranked passing offense.

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Former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, wife Michel welcome baby girl

Former Saints player Steve Gleason and his wife Michel welcomed a baby girl Tuesday in New Orleans.

“Steve and Michel Gleason are happy to announce the birth of their second child, a baby girl,” Team Gleason associate executive director Clare Durrett said, according to

“All are healthy and happy,” Durrett said.

Steve and Michel confirmed publicly in July that they were expecting their second child, a daughter, thanks to a successful in vitro fertilization procedure.

Their first child, a son named Rivers, was born shortly after Gleason learned of his ALS diagnosis in 2011.

Information from ESPN’s Mike Triplett was used in this report.

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Why this is Drew Brees’ best shot to win another Super Bowl – New Orleans Saints Blog

NEW ORLEANS — Drew Brees didn’t just break the NFL passing yardage record Monday night. He did it with his foot slammed down on the gas pedal.

Sure, the New Orleans Saints‘ 39-year-old quarterback relished every moment of his record-breaking night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, eyes welling up with tears as he shared the love with teammates, family members and the home fans.

And sure, his football immortality is now intact — as if it wasn’t already. Forget “first-ballot” Hall of Famer. They should just hand Brees his gold jacket and bronze bust the day he retires and skip the five-year waiting period.

But Brees wants more than that. He wants a second Super Bowl win. And this season might be his best shot.

Here are the three biggest reasons why:

He’s surrounded by cheap talent

The way the Saints (4-1) are built right now is kind of the opposite of how the Philadelphia Eagles were built with quarterback Carson Wentz on his rookie contract last year, or how the Seattle Seahawks were built when they had Russell Wilson on the cheap.

Brees is making $25 million per year, but he is surrounded by lower-priced, Pro Bowl-caliber talent throughout the roster, thanks to some outstanding draft selections in recent years. And that won’t last forever.

Running back Mark Ingram becomes a free agent after this season. A year later, receiver Michael Thomas and offensive linemen Max Unger and Andrus Peat are all scheduled to hit the open market (as will Brees).

In 2021, running back Alvin Kamara, DE Cameron Jordan, safety Marcus Williams and Pro Bowl guard Larry Warford will be free agents, while CB Marshon Lattimore and OT Ryan Ramczyk are due for big raises with fifth-year option bonuses.

They probably can’t afford to keep everyone on that list. And on top of all that, the Saints have already traded away their first- and third-round draft picks for next year.

In other words, this is probably as loaded as this roster is ever gonna be around Brees. So this window of the next one to three years probably represents the Saints’ best opportunity to win a Super Bowl.

The NFC is off to a rough start

This could change quickly, but for now, the NFC standings are stacking up in New Orleans’ favor. The Saints are one of only four NFC teams with a winning record (Los Angeles Rams at 5-0, Carolina Panthers at 3-1 and Chicago Bears at 3-1).

Other expected contenders such as the Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers have gotten off to much slower starts. And the Saints need to take advantage.

On the flip side, back in 2011, the Saints might have had their best team ever — arguably even better than the 2009 Super Bowl championship team. That was the season they set the NFL record with 7,474 yards. But somehow they wound up as the No. 3 seed despite a 13-3 record, and they lost on the road at San Francisco in an epic 36-32 divisional-round playoff game.

And oh, by the way, the Saints are playing their best football heading into a Week 6 bye. The pass defense got off to a dreadful start in the first three weeks, but it has tightened up quite a bit over the past two weeks — even after losing Lattimore to a concussion in the first quarter of Monday night’s 43-19 rout of the Washington Redskins.

Brees might not play forever

This is the obvious one. Brees turns 40 in January, and at some point the skill level or desire is bound to drop off, right?


Brees has talked often about believing he can still thrive at age 45. And I’m not going to be the one to doubt him after he just completed 23 of 26 passes for a career-best 89.7 completion percentage on Monday night, with 363 yards and three touchdowns.

He has the highest passer rating in the NFL this season at 122.3, with 331.6 yards per game, 11 TD passes and zero interceptions.

Sure, Brees doesn’t hit the deep ball with quite as much zip as he did in that 2009 to 2011 prime. But arm strength was never his greatest asset. And he obviously finds ways to manage the game just as effectively. He just set the NFL record for completion percentage for the third time last season at 72.0. And he’s on pace to break it again this year at a whopping 77.9 percent.

But in theory, some of those numbers are bound to start declining at some point. Maybe.

When I asked Brees on Monday night if he feels like he’s playing as well as ever, Brees joked about how his youngest son, Callen, always tells him he’s not throwing the ball in the right place when they try to make diving one-handed catches on the sofa at home.

“So they’re my toughest critics,” Brees said. “They keep me honest.”

Brees has also said that having his four children growing older and getting to appreciate the experience of being around him for all these special moments is one of the things that keeps driving him. So maybe he will play until he’s 45.

But as long as he’s got that foot on the gas pedal the way he does now, he might as well try to drive straight on through to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta just to be safe.

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After ugly loss to Saints, Washington Redskins face crucial week ahead – Washington Redskins Blog

NEW ORLEANS — The Washington Redskins went into their Monday night game against the New Orleans Saints with good vibes and an upbeat attitude. There was a quiet confidence.

They exited the 43-19 loss to New Orleans in silence, with a much different vibe, one that suggests this week and their next game against Carolina has turned into a crucial one for the franchise.

“Our whole team played poorly,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “That’s a reflection of myself. I think everybody in that locker room, hopefully, will say that they have to play better. I absolutely understand that coaches on this staff have to coach better.”

It’s not just about winning and contending in an NFC East that doesn’t look quite as tough as everyone thought it would be this season. At 2-2, the Redskins are in first place in the division, but with 12 games left, that’s meaningless. It’s about letting everyone know what’s acceptable. And their showing was anything but, coming off a bye, this is what they produced. It’s about continuing patterns for way too long for a starved fan base. Win games, get hopes up, suffer ugly loss.

It’s hard to imagine or remember a worse loss in the coach Jay Gruden era; not just by margin of victory, but for the team’s utter incompetence. They botched coverages — this continues a trend that shows no signs of ending — that led to two pass plays of at least 46 yards. They didn’t even throw to their best target, tight end Jordan Reed, until 5 minutes, 27 seconds remained in the third quarter. They committed dumb penalties — safety Montae Nicholson shoved a Saints player after a Ryan Kerrigan sack that would have forced a punt. Instead, it extended a drive that resulted in a touchdown.

After the drive, second-year defensive end Jonathan Allen was apparently getting on his teammates, letting him know their play was unacceptable. It’s great that a second-year guy did this; there needs to be a lot more of it from everyone in the organization, from coaches on down. If there aren’t enough players and coaches tired of the inconsistency, the breakdowns and losses will continue.

Quarterback Alex Smith was shaky all night, getting hit too often and not looking comfortable when he wasn’t being pressured. He missed open targets; he threw short of others. The coaching clearly wasn’t good enough, either. On a night when Drew Brees set the all-time record for passing yards, the Redskins were outclassed in every respect.

It doesn’t help the Redskins fan base that former quarterback Kirk Cousins has played well for Minnesota and former offensive coordinator Sean McVay is 5-0 with the Los Angeles Rams.

Meanwhile, cornerback Josh Norman — the highest paid player at his position — was benched to open the second half. Norman allowed a touchdown pass of 62 yards late in the first half when he appeared to be playing Cover 2 while the other defensive backs were in Cover 3, which would have had him covering deep. Two weeks ago against Green Bay, Norman did not play a quarters coverage properly, leading to another long score.

Monday, Norman was on the bench for the first series — only to watch rookie replacement Greg Stroman allow a 35-yard touchdown pass.

“There was an issue there,” Gruden said of Norman’s play late in the first half. “That’s one of the issues we’re talking about and that’s something that we have to get corrected. That can’t happen in pro football. You don’t see that happen in pro football. We’re together too long. We run the same coverage for too many times. We’ve got to coach that better. We’ve got to make sure that never happens again. That’s an absolute embarrassment.”

Norman said, “Coverage, man. We was blowing it all night. … As a fiery competitor you never want to come off, but whatever. I’ll roll with that because that’s the chain of command. He’s in charge. … End of the day I respect the head man and I’ve got to honor that and truly buy into what he wants.”

The Redskins finished the first quarter of the season with a 2-2 record. In this league, what looks true one week doesn’t always play out that way the next. The Redskins lost 44-16 in 2015 to Carolina only to win the following week — and eventually capture the NFC East. But it’ll be hard to shake the stink from this one; it’s probably good the Redskins have a short week.

The Redskins are 14-6-1 after a loss under Gruden. Washington has been resilient under him and that trait must reveal itself once more.

“It’s on to the next,” Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said. “This game doesn’t define our season. We just completed our first quarter of the season 2-2. It’s not bad at all. We’ll lick our wounds. … This is part of the NFL. It’s all about how you bounce back from adversity.”

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NFL players, LeBron react to Drew Brees becoming all-time passing leader – New Orleans Saints Blog

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees passed Peyton Manning and became the NFL’s career passing yardage leader in a big-time way with a 62-yard touchdown pass to rookie Tre’Quan Smith to give the Saints a 26-6 lead in the second quarter of Monday night’s game against the Washington Redskins.

He did it in front of both a prime-time national audience and the home crowd at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Players and celebrities took to social media to offer their congratulations:

Manning taped a message to Brees, which was shown in the stadium when he broke the record.

Other quarterbacks, past and present, also weighed in.

As did a former teammate.

And another record breaker, albeit in another sport.

And a few pass-catchers and defenders alike.

Even Ellen DeGeneres sent a message to her friend.

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‘Special connection’: Drew Brees’ receivers reveal 18 years of greatness – New Orleans Saints Blog

Marques Colston has caught more passes from Drew Brees than anyone. But as he reflected on those 706 catches for 9,709 yards and 72 touchdowns, the former New Orleans Saints receiver laughed at how many of them he never actually saw leaving Brees’ hand.

“Most of the intermediate routes, I would just see the ball come out of a pile of folks,” Colston said of Brees, who needs 201 yards on Monday night against the Washington Redskins to surpass Peyton Manning and become the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards. “And that’s just time on task, man. There’s no other way to really explain it. I mean, that’s probably hundreds if not thousands of reps, me seeing the defense the way he’s seeing the defense, being able to read body language.

“It was just a special, special connection.”

Brees is the unlikeliest of greats — a quarterback who stands just 6 feet tall, was barely recruited out of high school and fell to the second round of the NFL draft, where he began his career with the San Diego Chargers in 2001 and then joined the Saints in 2006.

But the way his receivers describe it, Brees has earned his way to 71,740 career passing yards through a combination of skill and desire, accuracy and character, uncanny vision and relentless work ethic.

ESPN spoke with 15 of Brees’ pass-catchers for a collection of their fondest memories, including the years and his stats with the QB:

RB LaDainian Tomlinson, 2001-05

254 catches, 1,750 yards, 6 TDs

“I just think of his competitiveness and his ability to, I guess, always bounce back and never take no for an answer. Even those early years when it was tough on him and he was going through the Doug Flutie situation for a while [being benched three times], then it became the Philip Rivers situation, he always remained the same. He was consistent with the way he thought of himself — like, ‘I’m a top quarterback in this league, I’m a starting quarterback, I’m a Pro Bowl guy, I’m an All-Pro guy.’ He always thought of himself like that. So that’s what comes to my mind when I think of Drew Brees.”

WR Keenan McCardell, 2004-05

97 catches, 1,255 yards, 9 TDs

“I got there right after Week 8 of the regular season, got traded there, and the first thing he wanted me to do was to get on the same page with him. We stayed after — not just me, but everybody, and we made sure we got on the same page. He was unbelievably prepared all the time. We would stay after on Wednesdays and Thursdays. He bought dinner for us.

“I remember the first Wednesday that I got there, after practice he said, ‘Keenan, let’s play some catch afterwards.’ He said, ‘Just stay in front of me.’ It was something like Michael Jordan where he closes his eyes and shoots the free throw. He closed his eyes and I was standing in front of him [10 yards away] and I’m like, ‘What are you doing?’ He said, ‘Just stay there.’ He said, ‘I just want to try to feel where you are.’ He said, ‘You can step to the side and I’m just trying to feel.’ … I started laughing afterwards. I said, ‘Drew, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen somebody close their eyes and throw me the ball and hit me in between the 8 and 7.’ He started laughing. After that, I realized you had somebody special.”

180 catches, 2,279 yards, 23 TDs

“This particular moment was special for me, and special for the whole team (a 72-yard touchdown in the second quarter of a Week 15 win at Cleveland in 2004). He threw me like a bullet route, and it was the first time as a group that we won the AFC West. That was like a 10-year span where the Chargers hadn’t been to the playoffs. It was super cold, and I remember him throwing that wheel route and how happy we were. He threw it, I caught it and I was gone.

“He just epitomized the quarterback position and what it means to be an All-Pro, just the way he always handled the ups and downs of his career.”

WR Lance Moore, 2006-13

346 catches, 4,281 yards, 38 TDs

“The fact that he’s a 10-, 12-, 15-year veteran, and after Saturday walk-through he goes into the indoor [practice facility] by himself and walks through the entire game plan leading up to the game — most of the time in the dark, nobody in there with him, no playbook, it’s all off of his head; that was the first time I ever saw anybody do that. And I can almost guarantee you he still does it to this day. So, there’s a reason why he’s great.

“I remember the first day that I was back from Birmingham [in 2006] after I got hurt in NFL Europe … the very first day that I’m in this building, Drew walks up to me, introduces himself to me. And at first, I’m nervous because, like, ‘This is Drew Brees,’ you know. But then I’m like, ‘Wow, this dude is awesome. I’m a young guy, never played in any games in the NFL, and he’s going out of his way to introduce himself to me.’ But I always tell people nowadays, as a great a player as he is, he’s an even greater person, and takes the time and does the work.”

WR Marques Colston, 2006-15

706 catches, 9,709 yards, 72 TDs

“I think he’s just somebody that understood everyone around him. And there’s a memory I have of that first touchdown that we scored together. And what stood out to me was that he was more excited for me than I was for myself. Just watching the video, he ran and jumped on me. And for him to be that excited for a rookie in his first game, that just speaks volumes to who he is as a person and as a man.

“I think everyone in the building understood that he’s hands down the best player in the organization, but you would never know it by the way he interacts with everyone around him and the way that he works and he grinds like he’s a free agent trying to make the roster.”

RB Reggie Bush, 2006-10

294 catches, 2,142 yards, 12 TDs

“Well, I’ll tell you one thing he did I didn’t like. It was when we played the Eagles in the playoff game [after the 2006 season], and he laid me out there to dry, and I got my head knocked off. And now every time an Eagles player tweets me, that’s the first thing they bring up. ‘Hey you remember this hit?’ Of course, I remember the hit. But it’s funny, because Drew’s such a great player and such a great professional, on and off the field, and I remember that moment coming back into the huddle, he was like, ‘Hey man, I’m sorry, bro. I’m really sorry.’ And I felt bad for him because I knew it really affected him. But that’s the kind of player he is. He’s a competitor. He’s one of the most competitive people I’ve ever been around.”

RB Pierre Thomas, 2007-14

327 catches, 2,608 yards, 12 TDs

“I remember there was one throw, he was running off to the side, and he just shovel passed it to me, and I ran up the field and got the first down for him. I didn’t think he was going to throw it to me, but he did. There was a few times he got me like that.

“It’s his work ethic [that stands out]. The details he put in his game, day in, day out, during practice, after practice. He’s trying to figure out what’s more comfortable for the players. You know, everybody is different, everybody’s unique, everybody has their own way of performing — and he wants to make sure he works with that. The steps, how guys get out of cuts, how long does it take for certain guys, because everybody’s not the same.”

WR Robert Meachem, 2007-11, 2013-14

162 catches, 2,695 yards, 25 TDs

“I want to say a high school gave him access to a gym. We had morning workouts, and then about 12 or 1 o’clock, we would try to go to the school and play pickup basketball. And it was so funny, because we had a play where I actually got the ball, so I was the quarterback, I was the point guard. He had to go play another position. And he didn’t like that. You know, he’s used to being in control, so he didn’t like that too much. He had to switch. …

“He’s a perfectionist, so pretty much everything we had to do, we were gonna do it over again after practice. Because if he didn’t like where he placed the ball during practice, we were gonna have to redo it. So a lot of my touchdowns were long bombs, so his biggest things would be if he was short on one or if he overthrew me. Oh lord, he would have to redo that one because he’d be mad about it. But he was a perfectionist, and when we got in the game, it worked time after time.”

202 catches, 1,379 yards, 4 TDs

“He’s just good people, man. You’d think because he’s an elite all-time passing leader that he might feel entitled or held to a certain standard. But he’s just one of the guys. He kicks it, hangs out, competes in the locker room, just has fun. That’s what I love most about him.

“[His competitiveness comes out in every locker room game]. Oh, pingpong for sure. That one year when we had the [pingpong ranking] list going, I remember one time I must have beat him, and he wanted to keep playing until he could beat me. He kept coming back each day. And then one day, he got his swing going on the pingpong table and he was able to get me a couple days later. Even on the [mini-basketball] hoop, he wanted to play somebody left-handed. That’s just him, man.”

95 catches, 1,572 yards, 8 TDs

“The biggest thing I remember is how OCD he was about everything. He’s a repetition guy. They’ve got to be perfect reps. We would run these routes until he felt like they were good to go for the game. … I can remember him being super OCD about touching the line when we’re doing certain drills, keeping his routine very similar every day; and when he got out of that routine, it would throw him off.

“At first, you think it’s funny, but then you realize and see how much success he’s had. You see how those things play a part in that and it becomes something you admire. That’s something I’ve learned from him — getting in that routine, sticking to it. And now I understand if you get off of that how that feels and how it affects my play. It’s certainly something that rubbed off on me.”

121 catches, 1,277 yards, 10 TDs

“I’d say he’s uncomfortably normal. He’s a superstar, but you might see him and his wife and the kids shopping in Target. I remember I saw him in Target one time and I was like, ‘Dude, you’re Drew Brees. Why are you in Target? You don’t have anybody to go to Target for you? You can’t just walk around in Target. Do you have security with you?’ No, he’s just a normal guy walking around. He’s coaching his kids in football. He’s coming to my kids’ birthday party. He’s accessible. He’s a very normal, approachable guy who is one of the best, if not the best, to play the position.”

208 catches, 2,782 yards, 20 TDs

“First thing I think of right away, so we both lived in Del Mar [California, in the offseason]. A long story, but I lived a couple doors down from him — thanks to him, we’ll just say that. And I remember on a bye week us going home. And you know, bye week, you think of like relax and recover, whatnot. But just being on that same page, we went to our back alley and we were playing long toss. We were probably out there for about an hour. And I think what makes him great is how accurate he is. And just thinking about that moment on how specific he was, even in the streets, on where he wanted to put the ball made me realize that this guy takes every little detail into account and that makes him special. And he’s an even better person.”

2 catches, 4 yards

“Oh man, his work ethic. He’s extremely smart, great leader. Being around him, hands down he’s the best quarterback in the league to me. Aaron Rodgers is not far off, but I have to give it to Drew Brees because of the amount of time he’s been in the league and he’s still doing it at a high level. And being around him personally, I’ve seen how he works off the field, as well.”

116 catches, 1,162 yards, 6 TDs

“When I first got here, I had watched Drew a lot and I knew he was great. But when I got to practice, I just remembered when I finally caught a ball from him, he like literally throws the ball to your hands like you don’t have no choice but to catch it. He’s that good, he’s that accurate. That’s one thing that stuck with me and still sticks with me from the first time I had that interaction with him. It’s still the same. Some of the throws he makes are crazy. Sometimes you might not think you’re getting the ball, and he just throws it to your hands and, ooh, you got it.”

238 catches, 2,827 yards, 17 TDs

“He’s always on. Drew is always on. And when a guy’s on, it’s contagious — whether it’s the look in his eyes that you know he’s on, whether it’s the way he communicates with you or whether it’s just how he’s playing, like he’s on fire. He loves football. He’s an example of how you’re supposed to play the position. He’s always studying the game. So for a guy like me, it’s contagious for me to have somebody like that. I always say it: Those guys keep you honest. If you want to be this, if you want to do this, if you want to go into games and be this consistent … you look up to those guys.

“And another thing, he’s a great dad. He’s a great person, and he’s a great dad. So for a guy who has [four] kids and loves his kids to be able to come here and still give it all to this organization, you kind of want to give back to a guy like that. You want to bring back as many wins as possible.”

— ESPN reporters Michael DiRocco, Eric D. Williams, Lindsey Thiry, Cameron Wolfe and John Keim contributed to this report.

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Ted Ginn Jr., New Orleans Saints wide receiver, out vs. Washington Redskins with knee injury

NEW ORLEANS — Ted Ginn Jr. has been ruled out of Monday night’s game with a knee injury, which could create more opportunity for New Orleans Saints rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith or fourth-year pro Cameron Meredith.

The severity of Ginn’s injury is unknown. He played through a knee injury in recent weeks despite being limited in some practices, but then he didn’t practice at all this week. The Saints (3-1) have a bye in Week 6, which gives him extra time to heal.

Ginn, who is used often as a deep threat, has 12 catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns this season. He ranks second among Saints receivers behind Michael Thomas in every category, though running back Alvin Kamara and tight end Benjamin Watson have more catches and yards.

Smith, a third-round pick from Central Florida, could potentially run downfield routes in Ginn’s place. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder showed some big-play ability throughout training camp and the preseason, but he has just one catch for 18 yards so far this season.

Meredith, meanwhile, has gradually worked his way into the offense after recovering from a knee injury suffered in 2017, when he was with the Chicago Bears. He was inactive for the first two games this season. Then he caught four passes for 43 yards and a touchdown over the past two weeks.

Meredith (6-3, 207) could be used both in the slot and on the outside. Second-year pro Austin Carr is also an option in the slot.

The Saints’ healthy pass-catchers could be part of history on Monday night when New Orleans hosts the Washington Redskins. Drew Brees is just 201 yards away from passing Peyton Manning as the NFL’s all-time passing yardage leader.

Washington, however, ranks among the NFL’s top three defenses in total yards, passing yards and points allowed per game.

The Saints also released running back Mike Gillislee and officially activated running back Mark Ingram following his four-game suspension.

New Orleans signed Gillislee in Week 1 after he was released by the New England Patriots, but he carried the ball just 16 times for 43 yards with one catch for 9 yards, no touchdowns and one lost fumble.

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Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints quarterback, not focused on passing yardage mark

METAIRIE, La. — Drew Brees was ready for the blitz on Thursday. And the New Orleans Saints quarterback came armed with a joke the first time he was asked about the record.

“What are you talking about?” Brees deadpanned before letting out a big laugh.

Brees has insisted repeatedly that this isn’t the time for reflecting, and he wants to make his routine as normal as possible this week.

But even he admitted it’s “crazy” and he “never would have dreamed” of being here, 201 yards away from becoming the NFL’s all-time passing yardage leader, poised to pass both Peyton Manning and Brett Favre on Monday Night Football at home against the Washington Redskins.

“It speaks to the longevity. And it says a lot about the teams I’ve been on, the coaches, the teammates, the players. Everyone has a hand in this, and I hope they know that,” said Brees, who told one of his classic stories about how he remembers playing in Miami during the preseason as a rookie in 2001 and looking up at all of Dan Marino’s numbers on the ring of honor and marveling at them.

“At the time I was just hoping to solidify the backup position, and eventually maybe one day become a starter,” Brees said. “So to be sitting here 18 years later in striking distance … it’s just kind of mind-boggling.”

Brees also said it would be special to break the record at home — if it indeed happens — because the New Orleans fans have been such “a big part of this” since he arrived in 2006. It’s also special that his kids will be old enough to appreciate the moment — though if they’re aware it’s happening, they haven’t mentioned it.

“I have a feeling mom’s probably talked to ’em and said, ‘Don’t say anything,'” Brees said.

The good thing for both Brees and the Saints is that they have plenty of experience with moments like these. Brees broke Marino’s single-season passing yardage record at home on Monday Night Football in 2011. And he broke Johnny Unitas’ record of consecutive games with a touchdown pass at home on a Sunday night in 2012.

To Sean Payton’s credit, he didn’t try to deny the significance, saying it was a “fair question” when asked how much the team will address it this week.

“Obviously, it’s a storyline,” Payton said, “but you always say that it’s just more special when you win. I’m sure Drew would feel the same way.”

And the Saints did indeed win on both of those record-breaking nights in the past.

“I’ve been a part of a lot of Drew Brees records — or have witnessed them in the Dome in some form or fashion. So just to see another one go down, it’ll just be another day,” Saints running back Mark Ingram said. “It’s just another day in the life of being a teammate of Drew Brees.

“[But] it’s special, just to know that no one in the game has done what you’ve done. And it just says a lot [about] him, about his work ethic. He works every day to be the best, and he deserves it. So we’re all behind him and we all want to see him get every single passing record there is known to man, because he deserves it.”

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