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Drew Brees will not play for Saints vs. Panthers

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The New Orleans Saints won't have Drew Brees on the field in Week 3.

Saints coach Sean Payton announced Friday that Brees will not play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Brees is dealing with a rotator cuff injury sustained in last week's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"Drew Brees will be out for this game," Payton said. "He'll travel, and I think just where he's at in the rehab and his strength, that he felt, and we all felt like it would be too early for him to play this weekend.

"I would say next week we'll continue the process, and without trying to make an estimation about his return, we felt like he made progress throughout the week, and yet he's not where he needs to be or where we feel comfortable with the strength that he needs. But he did get better each day and we'll just see where he's at next week."

Luke McCown will start against the Panthers, with Garrett Grayson serving as the backup. McCown will make his first start since the 2011 season.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport first reported that Brees suffered a rotator cuff injury that could keep him out multiple weeks. Brees has remained optimistic, telling reporters he was "pretty confident" he'd be on the field against the Panthers. Payton said "the velocity wasn't there" when Brees threw this week.

This will be the first game Brees misses due to injury since he signed with the Saints in 2006. The Saints are attempting to avoid an 0-3 start, a task made all the more difficult by the absence of their franchise star.

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