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Saints QB Drew Brees wants to play until he's 45

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Drew Brees may be 35 years old, but the QB's not afraid to say he doesn't feel that old.

And to prove it, on Friday, he dropped into his press conference that he'd like to play for another 10 years, citing the late-career success of contemporaries Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as evidence that continuing into his 40s is realistic.

Later in the morning, he expounded on his reason for saying it, emphasizing that he's thought the idea through and sees it now as a personal challenge.

"No doubt. There's no question," Brees said, in a private moment. "I'm not getting ahead myself, like it's a pipe dream, at 45. I understand the challenges that come along with that. But why not? If I can stay healthy, and I'm having fun and playing at a high level, why wouldn't I wanna do that? The biggest challenge is physically, the maintenance, the recovery, the way you train. You gotta hope that you stay healthy, but why not?"

Brees sits fifth all time in career passing yards with 51,081 and fourth all time in passing touchdowns with 363, and is under contract with the Saints through 2016. He'll turn 36 during this year's playoffs.

When asked about any added urgency to win because of Brees' advancing age, coach Sean Payton answered directly.

"I don't see age with him until I see his children," Payton told NFL Media. "I always say that, when you see each other, you see each other the same way. And then all of the sudden, I'll see Baylen or Bowen, and you're like, 'Holy cow.' That's when you recognize the years we've been here."

During the early days of camp, Brees was active as ever. Around the work the players have to get done, the veteran was setting up quarterback challenges with his position group that included trying to throw a ball up a steep hill, and a skeet-shooting-style passing competition.

At one point during one of the throw-offs, he nearly hit Payton, who then jumped in with the players to compete.

If nothing else, it was symbolic of what continues to push Brees.

"If everything you do, you're trying to win at, and you're pissed if you don't, it becomes your nature," Brees said. "It is my nature. It's hard for me not to do that. And that's what motivates you, and gets you going. I mean, I'm 10 years older than all those quarterbacks, and I'm thinking, 'Am I gonna let this young punk beat me? I'm not gonna let this young punk beat me at anything!'

"So it's getting the best out of me. I'm trying to get the best out of them, too. So at the end of the day, we're both better than we would've been otherwise."

Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer.

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