Saints news: Drew Brees is 'going to miss' playing with Max Unger
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Saints QB Drew Brees is ‘going to miss’ playing with Max Unger

Max Unger, Drew Brees, Saints

The New Orleans Saints moved quickly to find a replacement for Max Unger after the standout center announced his retirement earlier this week. Even though the Saints seem poised to get by without him next season, that doesn’t mean Unger’s presence won’t be missed by his former teammates and coaches; a sentiment Drew Brees expressed Tuesday on Instagram.

During a conference call with reporters on Monday, Unger said he had been contemplating retirement for several weeks, keeping the Saints apprised of his mindset in the process. Though he played well enough last season to earn the third Pro Bowl nod of his career, starting 16 games for the third time in four seasons, the 32-year-old knows nagging pain would have kept him from sustaining that level of play over the long haul.

“I’m retiring because I wasn’t sure I could make it through another season,” Unger said, per Luke Johnson of NOLA.com. “I’m getting older. There is no way for me to replicate the play of five years ago. That’s a reality of life.”

Unger started all 16 games at center for the Saints last season, earning his third and final Pro Bowl nod. A second-round pick out of the University of Oregon in 2009, he began his career with the Seattle Seahawks, immediately establishing himself as one of the league’s most promising interior offensive lineman. Unger was traded to New Orleans, a development he called “the best possible outcome” on Monday, in 2015 along with a first-round pick in exchange for star tight end Jimmy Graham.

The Saints signed free agent Nick Easton, a guard for the Minnesota Vikings last season who began his career at center, to a four-year, $24 million deal on Sunday.