A decade ago, Drew Brees answered the call to New Orleans

deanmullen
Feb 6, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees poses after receiving the Clutch Performer of the Year award at the NFL Honors press room at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 6, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees poses after receiving the Clutch Performer of the Year award at the NFL Honors press room at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Many people may not know this, but Drew Brees was much more likely to go to the Miami Dolphins in 2006. Miami was no doubt more football wise, as well as the safer decision as the offseason began.

New Orleans had just went through one of the worse natural disasters in U.S. history the year before with Hurricane Katrina. In the end, Drew Brees felt compelled to help resurrect a broken city and a team that would break through barriers that were thought unthinkable.

The two-way race between Dante Culpepper and Drew Brees was simply a series of inevitable circumstances that would define each player. Culpepper was coming off a knee injury, and Brees was rehabbing a partially torn rotator cuff injury. The Dolphins were coming off a 9-7 season with new coach Nick Saban, while the Saints finished 3-13.

The city of New Orleans was still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. There was devastation everywhere where you looked. The damaged city set the stage for a quarterback that was thought to be finished. Obviously, this would be just the start.

The first time that Drew Brees got a chance to really get close to viewing the city is when new head coach Sean Payton and him got lost during his visit. Perhaps it was no accident that Brees got a chance to see homes torn apart and lives turned upside down by a creature of epic proportions. There were no palm trees, and plenty of damage scattered throughout neighborhoods all over. New Orleans needed Drew Brees not just as a quarterback, but also as an ambassador.

Miami was just one of 31 teams that were not convinced that Drew Brees could lead them to a championship. The Dolphins wanted Drew Brees, but wasn’t totally convinced that Brees was worth the risk and money. Miami would get Culpepper, who would eventually sit on the bench. I think it’s safe to say that Drew Brees will one day he’ll be inducted in the Hall of Fame as a first ballot inductee. Drew knew, that’s who.

The one thing that Brees had was determination and belief that success was coming. If you dig deep enough on those days when Brees needed help brushing his teeth, his wife, family, and friends were his army. Brees would seek out help as needed to define his legacy. Choosing New Orleans seemed to mimic his struggles from high school to the NFL.

All these roadblocks that were seen on the outside just strengthened Drew’s certainty that New Orleans would be his home forever! Now, the Saints are coming up on the 10th anniversary of the Superdome’s reopening. This upcoming 2016 season is not exactly looked at with high expectations. There are probably 9 out of 10 people who believe that the Saints will be lucky to go 8-8.

Ironically, the place where they have held training camp the last couple of years (The Greenbrier) has been decimated by catastrophic floods. There has been some speculation that the Saints may move their camp to Metairie or another area. Although I’m just like anyone else wanting to see the Saints up close, don’t be surprised if the Saints will go up north to practice as well as serve the community. This year’s team may just surprise a lot of people. The Saints are known to come together under adverse conditions.

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