METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton said quarterback Drew Brees will not play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Payton said it was a difficult decision, but the best one for Drew and the team.
"I think, just where he's at in the rehab and his strength, I think he felt, and we all felt it would be too early to play this weekend," Payton said.
Brees suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter when his arm was hit by Tampa Bay's Jack Smith in Week 2. On Monday, Payton said it was too early to speculate on Brees' playing status.
The injured Saints quarterback told ESPN's Ed Werder in a text message, "I haven't missed a game due to injury in 20 years, since my junior year of high school. I consider myself very fortunate for that. Another reason why this decision was so tough. Bottom line is Luke McCown gives us the best chance to win this week. I have to be honest with myself and do what is in the best interest of the team. I have total confidence in Luke, as does our team."
Brees said Wednesday that he did not throw at practice, but had every intention of playing Sunday.
Veteran Luke McCown will get the start against the Panthers. McCown has only thrown one pass in a game since joining the team.
Payton did not say when Brees would return to the field, but that he would be back sooner than later.
This is the first start Brees will miss because of an injury since becoming quarterback of the Saints in 2006. The last quarterback to start for the Saints was Mark Brunell in the last game of the 2009 Super Bowl season when Brees was held out.