Brian Allee-Walsh

Signs point to a quick return for Saints QB Drew Brees, but I don’t get the rush

Recent signs strongly suggest that the days are numbered for popular backup Teddy Bridgewater to remain the starting quarterback of the New Orleans Saints.

If I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, Sunday’s game against the Da Bears from Chicago at Soldier Field (3:25 p.m., Fox) might be Bridgewater’s last as starter for the NFC South-leading Black and Gold and setting the stage for Drew Brees’ return next week.

We will know more in the coming days. But, Brees is back throwing regulation NFL footballs, not in practice but on a rehabilitative basis. When Brees does return to a normal football regimen, doctors want him to wear an external brace taped to his surgically-repaired right thumb to complement an internal brace inserted into the hand Sept. 18.

Not one to bite my tongue when it comes to all things Saints, I think it would be a huge mistake to bring Brees back next week against the Arizona Cardinals at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, what with their bye coming the following week.

What’s the rush? Granted, Bridgewater is not Brees. But we’ve seen that Teddy doesn’t have to be Drew for the Saints to win games. What’s the harm in starting Bridgewater against the Cardinals? That would give Brees’ thumb extra time to heal, then bring him back against the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 10 at the Superdome.

Last time I looked the NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint.

At the very least, I wouldn’t bring Brees back until he successfully completes my nine-step thumb protocol procedure. I caution readers not to try this at home — or anywhere else for that matter — because you might be subjected to intense ridicule from your family, friends and anyone else of sound mind.

That said, under my plan, in order for Brees to get cleared to play, he must:

STEP 1 — Apply 50 thumbtacks on a piece of corkboard to spell out Jimmy John’s.

STEP 2 — Thumb nose for nine minutes at NFC Championship game crew chief Bill Vinovich and his merry band of officials.

STEP 3 — Squish nine Gulf Coast-sized cockroaches with surgically-repaired right thumb.

STEP 4 — Thumb wrestle for nine minutes with teammate Cam Jordan.

STEP 5 — Thumb through nine full menus at each one of his Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bars.

STEP 6 — Twiddle both thumbs continually for nine minutes.

STEP 7 — Use 9-pound bowling ball and roll 9 frames pain free.

STEP 8 — Continually twist and turn a Rubic’s Cube for nine minutes, stressing usage of right thumb.

STEP 9 — And finally, give nine firm thumb prints under direction of the New Orleans Police Department.

Once Brees completes my thumb protocol, then and only then, would he be cleared for full return to football activity.

Until that happens, I say Play On Teddy Bridgewater ... TED-DY ... TED-DY ... TED-DY.

By the way, there is no truth to the rumor that Brees plans to buy the Tom Thumb Food Chain and have it reflect his name.

Brian Allee-Walsh, a longtime Saints reporter based in New Orleans, can be reached at