Drew Brees Cried During Anthem Apology: Teammate

Dan Mennella
September 16, 2020 - 2:50 pm
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There's no crying in ... football?

Saints quarterback Drew Brees famously had to backpedal after conflating peaceful player protests with "disrespecting the flag" -- and apparently it was a tearful apology.

Brees had "tears rolling down his face" during the mea culpa in the New Orleans locker room, Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders revealed on Wednesday.

Sanders was initially irritated with Brees over the remarks, he said on ESPN's First Take, but the heartfelt apology resonated with him and the rest of their teammates.

"I mean, I've never seen that," Sanders said. "You could just tell that he was hurt by his comments and things that people were saying about him because he was unaware of it."

The Saints have moved on from the saga, the veteran wideout said.

"We understood where he was coming from and we were able to move past it," he said. "I don't see any weird energy going on in the locker room."

Sanders, now in his first season with the Saints after reaching the Super Bowl with the 49ers last year, signed a two-year deal with New Orleans in March, only weeks before Brees' comments rocked the NFL community in the days after the senseless killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

The 41-year-old quarterback came under withering criticism from some of his fellow NFL players and others for what they characterized as tone-deaf remarks in a moment of inflamed social tensions. He later apologized -- to the dismay of conservative-leaning fans and observers, who said he caved to popular pressure and should have stuck to his guns.

Sanders, a 33-year-old SMU product who was signed for depth at the wide receiver position, is expected to take on a more prominent role with superstar Michael Thomas out several weeks due to an ankle sprain. He previously played with the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers, in addition to his brief stint with the Niners last year.

The 11-year veteran was effusive in his praise of Brees on Wednesday.

"One of the best teammates I've been around," he said.

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