Drew Brees will start at quarterback in his return for the New Orleans Saints, confirmed head coach Sean Payton.
Brees has been sidelined since suffering rib fractures on each side of his chest and a collapsed right lung in last month’s win over the San Francisco 49ers.
The Super Bowl champion and MVP quarterback has missed four consecutive NFL games due to the injury, but Brees will make his comeback against the Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
“Our plan is to play him, our plan is to start him,” Payton told reporters on Friday.
The Saints (10-3) are 3-1 in Brees’ absence with Taysom Hill as the starting quarterback.
Drew Brees is returning for Sunday’s game against Kansas City
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) December 18, 2020
Brees completed a league-best 73.5 per cent of his passes for 2,196 yards, 18 touchdowns and three interceptions prior to his injury on November 15.
“He’s looked good,” Payton said of Brees. “He feels good. We were encouraged at the start of the week. We wanted to see how it felt as he went through a full practice week, and he’s done a good job.
“We wouldn’t be playing him if he wasn’t healthy and able to function and feeling good and recovered.”
The Saints saw their nine-game winning streak snapped following last week’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
New Orleans allowed 400-plus yards for the first time this season and were gashed for 246 yards on the ground – the most allowed by the team in their last 96 games, per Stats Perform.
After catching exactly 81 passes in each of his first three seasons, Saints star Alvin Kamara has 77 receptions in 2020. He is looking to become the second running back in history to have 80 or more receptions in at least four straight seasons – Marshall Faulk had a five-year streak from 1998 through 2002.