Drew Brees: The Saint of New Orleans
By Shawn Brown
The 700 Club
Original Air Date: September 7, 2010
It was the day that New Orleans Saints fans waited on for over 40 years the day their beloved Saints would finally win the Super Bowl. It came on the leadership and arm of game MVP and quarterback Drew Brees, who did what many thought was close to impossible.
"It’s an unbelievable feeling," Drew tells The 700 Club. "It’s surreal to think that it actually did happen.”
A great story isn’t just about the ending; it’s also about the journey. Drew and his younger brother Reid grew up in Austin, Texas. Football wasn’t his favorite sport.
“Baseball was my favorite sport. I played all sports.My brother and I were just sports junkies. Every free second we had was out in the yard playing tennis or running around.”
But by high school, Drew excelled in football as a quarterback. He looked forward to playing at the college level, but in his junior year, he suffered a torn ACL, at the time his future in football looked dim.
“I had seen a lot of my friends tear their ACLs, and some of them hadn’t come back as good as they were before not as fast, not asmobile, whatever it might be. So the thought of a torn ACL was devastating to me, because I thought that I might be in the same boat as them.”
One Sunday at church, something the pastor said changed everything.
“I was 17 years old sitting in church one day with a torn ACL, on crutches, wondering what if football were not here for me or if sports weren’t here for me. What’s my calling in life? What am I? What’s my purpose? What am I here to do? For some reason, it all hit me. His call to the congregation was that God was looking for a few good men to carry the torch and to represent the Christian faith. I just remember thinking to myself, Man, I’d like to be one of those few good men.”
Drew became a Christian that day. With a new purpose, he was determined that nothing would stand in his way.
"God does have a purpose for me that’s much greater than football.”
Drew went on to finish his high school football career with 28-0 record. He spent the next four years at Purdue where he led the Boilmakers to the 2001 Rose Bowl. Though they came up short, there were bigger things in store for Drew that year. He was drafted by the San Diego Chargers. He spent five seasons there until he dislocated his throwing shoulder while trying to recover a fumble. Once again Drew’s future in football was questionable.
“I was given a 25 percent chance of coming back and playing by some. That could very easily put a lot of doubt in your heart. But, ever since that moment in high school when I truly accepted the responsibility of being a Christian, I knew that my faith was strong. As long as I relied on that, I knew that there was a plan and I just had to believe it.”
In just two months, Drew had fully recovered. By then, the Chargers' organization decided to go with Philip Rivers as the starter. Drew decided to move on. He had two choices: the Miami Dolphins, a team on the rise and championship potential, or the New Orleans Saints, a losing team, in a city still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Katrina.
“Here’s Miami. Nick Sabin was a first year head coach the year before. They went 9-7. They won their last 7 in a row. I mean, they were a team on the up and up. Then there’s New Orleans, which [had] a first year head coach. Nobody knew what to expect out of Sean Peyton. The city had just been completely devastated by Hurricane Katrina; 85% of the city under water. The team had been displaced, 3-13 record. These are my choices. From an outsider’s perspective, you would think that the obvious choice would be the Miami Dolphins, yet when you get past the surface and dig a little deeper, you see the heart and soul of a city that just needed somebody to believe in them. Here I was, just needed somebody to believe in me.”
It was during his visit to New Orleans with Saints new head coach Sean Peyton, that drew and his wife Brittany made their decision.
“I think that’s when Brittany and I both looked at each other and thought this is much more than just coming to be a part of a team. This is coming to be a part of something much greater and that is the rebuilding of a city."
Drew signed with the Saints in 2006. Four seasons later he led them to not only their first Super Bowl but to victory. It wasn’t just through football that Drew has become a beacon of hope to New Orleans and the state of Louisiana; together with his wife he founded, the Brees Dream Foundation to advance research in the fight against cancer and to help rebuild what was lost in Hurricane Katrina. Drew has also written a book, Coming Back Stronger, which chronicles his journey with the underlying message of never giving up and following God’s plan.
“I live for God, for the faith that I have in Him. Knowing the sacrifices that Jesus Christ made on the cross for me and feeling like it’s in God’s hands, all I have to do is just give my best, commit the rest to Him. Everything else is taken care of. That takes the weight off anybody’s shoulders. It’s to give you confidence to know that you’ve got somebody looking out for you.”
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