‘Humbling’ Drew Brees responds to emotional message from Saints QB Jameis

Drew Brees had competed against Jameis Winston for half a decade as dueling NFC South quarterbacks. Then the two shared a quarterback room in New Orleans last season,jack-of-all-trades Taysom Hill competing with them. So when Brees retired from the NFL in March, he knew plenty about Winston’s career on the field and had learned over the course of a year more about who Winston was off it. Still, he didn’t expect Winston’s emotional March 23 news conference.“That was really humbling,” Brees told USA TODAY Sports by phone Wednesday, speaking in partnership with Copper Compression. “I guess it’s not until you have a moment like that where you really understand the impact you can have on someone. And I’m so appreciative for the time I had with Jameis.”Winston joined the Saints after five years starting for the Buccaneers, who drafted him first overall in 2015. He played just 54 regular-season snaps for New Orleans, completing 7 of 11 passes. Then, on the field for one playoff snap, Winston completed a 56-yard touchdown pass against his former team. Cameras caught a teary Brees, playing in his last NFL game, speaking to Winston as the fourth quarter waned. Winston said the moment moved him.“That really gets me emotional,” a choked-up Winston said March 23. “Because I really love Drew Brees like I don’t think he understands. I know my wife do, I know my family do. But y’all don’t understand the impact that him and a lot of other quarterbacks have had on me.”Brees retired as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards at 80,358 in 20 seasons. His 571 career passing touchdowns rank second behind only Tom Bradyin league history. Brees won 172 regular-season games and led the Saints to the playoffs in nine seasons, winning the franchise's lone Super Bowl title in the 2009 campaign. Since 2017, he said he has approached each season as his last. As he advanced through his 30s and now to 42, Brees was often the “elder statesman,” he said, and he wanted to set an example for developing players. But that example wasn’t intended to inspire a quarterback to copy identically the 13-time Pro Bowler’s game or his routine. Rather, Brees wanted younger players to adapt his skill sets to fit their own leadership and athleticism.“At the end of the day, each one of us has our own style,” Brees said. “So that’s my advice to guys: I’ll give you everything I know. I’ll give you everything I do. And you can watch me, we can talk about it, if you ever have a question – come to me, man. I’ll give you whatever I have. Then you pick and choose the things that work for you.“Make it your own and create your own style and be yourself.”Brees expects the Saints offense to follow a similar blueprint in 2021. For 15 years, it was overwhelmingly catered to a cast led by Brees.

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Article Link: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/saints/2021/04/02/drew-brees-opens-up-jameis-winston-new-orleans-saints-quarterback/4849295001/

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