Speak to anybody about Drew Brees, from household to longtime buddies to previous and current teammates — and you will get some superior stories about his legendary competitiveness.

Earlier than the New Orleans Saints quarterback grew to become the NFL’s all-time passing chief, he was a multisport star who as soon as beat a youthful Andy Roddick in youth tennis and as soon as dedicated to play baseball at TCU. However there are also many basic tales of his exploits on a golf course, pingpong desk, a pickleball courtroom, a horseshoe pit or the seed-spitting and grasshopper-catching contests he had along with his brother, Reid, on their grandfather’s ranch. Apparently the one factor he cannot do is stunt bartending.

As Brees approaches his 40th birthday on Tuesday — and the Saints’ playoff opener towards the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at four:40 p.m. ET (Fox) — we gathered some of the very best behind-the-scenes stories on the long run Corridor of Famer.

Drew Brees approaches his 40th birthday on Tuesday, however earlier than that, the New Orleans Saints could have their playoff opener towards the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Walker TKL

Do not underestimate his soar-roping abilities

Steve Gleason, former Saints teammate: “In 2006, when he was model new to New Orleans, Drew was rehabbing his shoulder from the brutal damage he had sustained the earlier season. At this level, only a week or two into the offseason coaching, we hadn’t had any crew conferences, and Drew hadn’t addressed the crew. We did not know if he would even play soccer once more. And having spent the earlier six seasons with common management on the quarterback place, I used to be skeptical and ready to see what sort of participant, and what sort of chief, he could be for us.

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“Within the locker room, Drew was doing a little soar-rope drills, and a few guys had been chirping about his abilities. ‘Good work Drew. You must do double Dutch subsequent! Ha!’ ‘I will get some chalk. You are able to do some hopscotch for tomorrow’s rehab!’ Then somebody mentioned, ‘How about some double unders? What number of double jumps are you able to do? 10? 20? 25?’ Drew replied, ‘What number of would you like me to do? Let’s guess on it.’ I spoke up. ‘Fifty. Do 50 and I will be impressed.’ Drew calmly requested, ‘What is the guess Gleas?’ We selected a sushi dinner, and at this level an honest crowd had fashioned within the coaching room. I figured he had no likelihood at this, and I might be having fun with a sushi dinner on Drew. He obtained to 20 and guys began getting excited. Twenty-5 and issues obtained extra intense. At 40, it obtained loud sufficient that guys began coming in from the locker room to see what was happening. Drew hit 50 and stored rolling. He obtained to 75 with out lacking a beat and simply determined that was sufficient. He came to visit to my coaching desk, shook my hand whereas trying me within the eye with that assured but semi-humble half smile that this metropolis has come to know so effectively. That was my first expertise in studying not to doubt Drew’s bodily skills.”

Nobody’s taking his job

Reid Brees, Drew’s youthful brother: “It was the summer time earlier than his senior yr of highschool, we used to work out at our highschool subject fairly a bit. And we had this new child who moved into our district, and he was a quarterback at his old fashioned. He ended up exhibiting up at our highschool soccer subject at some point throughout one of these summer time practices, and he was speaking about how he wished to be the beginning quarterback that coming yr. And Drew was coming off of an ACL surgical procedure, so he was simply now form of getting round, working and throwing and stuff like that. However one of the blokes form of pointed over in Drew’s route and mentioned, ‘Effectively, for those who come to this highschool, you are gonna have to beat out that man.’ And the man form of says, ‘Effectively, what’s so particular about him?’ So we name Drew over and Drew begins chatting with him, and they also find yourself having this passing competitors. From the primary throw, this man knew he was out of his league, as a result of the primary trick throw, there was a trash can that was on the opposite aspect of the sphere — about 50 yards away. And the man says, ‘OK, effectively how about we throw and whoever can hit that trash can, that’ll be the primary contest?’ So Drew goes first and Drew’s first throw, he places it within the trash can. He would not simply hit the trash can, he throws it into the trash can. So the man, simply the look on his face was like, ‘OK, that is what I am coping with.’ So I am unable to keep in mind what that man’s title was, however he wound up by no means exhibiting up at our highschool. He ended up going to one other highschool within the space, and I am unable to keep in mind if he had a superb profession or not. However these had been the sorts of issues Drew did — not like every day, however he would do sufficient to the place his household and buddies form of knew it wasn’t something out of the norm. It was one thing the place he might simply do nearly something.”

Stepping up to the problem

Ben Smith, Brees’ shut buddy and faculty roommate: “We had been each freshmen quarterbacks at Purdue, and had been at our first fall camp. And I am overwhelmed, nervous as a result of it was the primary day the seniors present up after per week of simply freshmen being on campus. And the 2 senior quarterbacks had been struggling, so Coach [Joe] Tiller seemed over on the three freshmen and yelled, ‘One of you younger guys get in right here as a result of these upperclassmen aren’t chopping it!’ In all probability extra to mild a fireplace below the upperclassmen. However I can keep in mind considering, ‘No means in hell am I stepping up there.’ I actually form of take a step again and take a look at to cover behind someone else. And earlier than I might even try this, Drew was stepping up, prepared to take the snap. He took the snap, Yellow 93 was the play — a 4-route go — and threw a dart proper on the cash to, I feel it was Ike Jones. That was the day that my eyes opened. I assume that was the day that I found out two issues: one, he was fairly good and two, that I wanted to discover a new place. And that actually paints the proper image of what Drew is. He is a competitor. He loves stress, loves stress. I’ve by no means seen a human being relish being below stress like him.”

Purdue teammates and buddies, from left, Drew Brees, Ben Smith and Jason Loerzel. Courtesy of Ben Smith

‘A distinct pingpong participant’

Zach Strief, longtime Saints teammate: “Actually there’s about 10 of these stories, however we get the pingpong desk within the locker room and he is not in there close to as a lot as we’re. His exercises take longer, his movie takes longer. And so he walks into the locker room at some point, and we have been taking part in for a pair months, and he decides, ‘Hey, let’s play.’ And I feel as a result of he is a tennis participant, he is obtained this large forehand. It is all forehand, forehand. So he is placing lots of topspin on it. I stand proper by the desk, and the one factor I am actually good at defending is a topspin ball. So I’m simply working him, it is relentless. He is obtained no solutions and he is making an attempt to slam every part and I am returning every part. So we performed twice and I beat him each occasions by a considerable margin. And he drops the paddle on the desk and he turns and walks to his locker. He would not say a phrase. And I am considering that is the proper alternative to form of rib him somewhat bit. So I am like giving it to him somewhat bit, strolling to his locker, ‘Hey, we might play once more, possibly I might play with one other paddle,’ simply making an attempt to push it on. He would not say a phrase. And I feel he is legitimately upset with me — on the very least unwilling to look the man who simply beat him within the eye. So I form of let it go.

“A few week later I stroll into the locker room, it is proper after follow, and Drew’s within the locker room, which is uncommon — he is normally proper to the load room. And he is like, ‘Come on, let’s go.’ And I am like, ‘OK. You need some extra? OK nice, let’s go do it.’ And Drew is a unique pingpong participant. I am speaking like full barrage of shot means, returning issues, like reduce photographs on the web. He is obtained solutions for every part. So he beats me two of three. And we’re form of laughing, and he form of provides me that little look. Like he is not gonna discuss s—, however he provides me that look to say, ‘That is proper. You bought what was coming to you.’ So I stroll away from the desk and I am asking all the blokes that we normally play with, ‘Have you ever performed Drew these days?’ Not one particular person had performed pingpong with him. With out query — this isn’t an opinion — Drew Brees was training, both within the locker room by himself — we had somewhat ball shooter — or he was discovering video games exterior of the ability. And he can declare he did not. However to me, that is very a lot Drew. One, it is vital to him to win, to a degree that is like uncommon for most individuals. But it surely’s additionally this managed means that he offers with it: ‘I am gonna work, I am gonna discover a means to get higher and I am gonna win.'”

He even beat Andy Roddick as a youth tennis star

To be honest to the previous US Open champion, Brees is sort of 4 years older than Roddick, who was ok to play up a couple of ranges with the older children. So the truth that Brees beat him 3 times once they had been each youth tennis standouts in Austin, Texas, most likely ought to include an asterisk. However Brees was truly ok to be the highest-ranked youth participant within the state at one level when he was 12 or 13 years outdated — although he doesn’t declare he would have been successful main championships if he had caught to tennis. Brees admitted he used his measurement and energy to his benefit when he performed Roddick, and mentioned Roddick lastly obtained him of their final assembly earlier than Brees moved on to different sports activities and Roddick moved to Florida for extra severe coaching. “I used to be somewhat extra uncooked and had an ideal two-handed backhand. However I used to be principally serve and volley, not a groundstroke man,” Brees recalled. “I attempted to overpower guys and cost the online as soon as doable. I obtained away with that so long as I might. However [Roddick] was basically so good and sound.”

Maybe Brees and his brother Reid might have made it as doubles stars — that’s if they may survive one another. “Some of the individuals we’d play towards would complain that me and Drew could be yelling at one another on a regular basis on the courtroom,” Reid recalled. “Neither of us would need to take accountability for something we’d do — we’d simply flip round and level the finger at our accomplice. However we had been actually good doubles companions. We at all times bickered at one another, however we at all times obtained the job accomplished, it appeared like.”

Profitable over the Saints’ locker room

As spectacular as Brees’ soar-roping show was, Gleason mentioned the second when Brees really cemented his management got here six weeks later.

Gleason: “We had been assembly as a crew. And as Coach [Sean] Payton was wrapping up, unplanned and unannounced, Drew mentioned, ‘Hey, Coach, can I discuss to the crew for a bit with out the coaches?’ … He was keen to stand in entrance of unsure teammates and set lofty, even outrageous objectives, for a crew that had gone Three-13 the yr earlier than. I keep in mind being nervous for him. Drew listed the traits that he noticed as important to obtain the objective he set for us: braveness, resilience, poise, self-discipline, unity, and so forth. Not solely that, as he listed every attribute, he talked about gamers within the room who embodied these traits. The crew was captivated. We had our chief.”

Former Saints receiver Lance Moore additionally talked concerning the nice first impression he obtained from Brees that offseason, when he was nonetheless only a follow-squad participant who had returned after struggling an damage whereas taking part in with the NFL Europe league.

Moore: “I am somewhat bit nervous, my first day again. And of course Drew Brees is there shiny and early over by his locker. And I see him and I am not essentially nervous, however I am identical to, ‘Wow, that is Drew Brees.’ And certain sufficient he walks over to me at my locker, introduces himself to me and simply tells me if there’s something I ever wanted, let him know and he’d assist any means he might. So for a younger man to have your Professional Bowl beginning quarterback come up to you and simply form of open up the strains of communication, that was superior for me, that was large. After which I’ve seen him try this so many occasions over time, even follow-squad guys which can be there within the center of the week.”

Steve Gleason, the previous Saints security who’s battling ALS, performed with Drew Brees throughout the 2006 season. Courtesy of Open Street Movies

Shabby golf golf equipment no extra

Jason Loerzel, Brees’ shut buddy and faculty roommate: “We had been roommates for 3 years — me, Ben [Smith] and Drew in faculty. And we had a very candy condominium, it was like a warehouse condominium. And we had been actually into golf, and would play each contained in the condominium and out of doors the condominium. We might use little yellow Nerf balls and arrange holes that we’d take turns creating, like, ‘Bounce it off this wall, go into the lavatory, come out right here and find yourself in a rubbish can.’ However being faculty college students, we had been poor. So we had like pieced-collectively golf golf equipment, like this damaged membership right here and this damaged membership there. I do not even assume between the three of us we had a full golf set. So when Drew obtained drafted and despatched off to San Diego, I do not even assume it was per week and a half, and Ben and I get two big packages delivered to the entrance door. And he had gone to the TaylorMade manufacturing facility and customised two units of golf golf equipment and despatched us each a model new set of golf golf equipment with a pleasant be aware that mentioned, ‘Get rid of these shabby golf golf equipment.’ In order that’s simply the sort of man he’s.”

Stunt bartender? Let’s simply say he is no Tom Cruise

Strief: “Extra of a human aspect of Drew. He is so polished picture-clever, and he actually is like that — it is not a present. However you nearly by no means see him along with his hair down, proper? So in 2006, we get a bye within the playoffs and the bye week got here throughout New Yr’s Eve. So we had been all off, which is admittedly uncommon. So it is 2006, we make the playoffs, it was very thrilling occasions. Now, we had been solely 10-6 and we weren’t actually that good. However we did not know that on the time. Drew reserves a giant part on the Republic [a trendy night club in New Orleans] — which is in and of itself one thing Drew would by no means usually do. And he invitations anyone who desires to come. I am a rookie, I’ve nowhere to go, and the quarterback’s throwing a celebration, so I am going to the get together. And he is obtained some individuals there, his brother, Brittany [Drew’s wife], most likely 12 to 15 gamers and girlfriends, wives, no matter. And Drew sooner or later decides he is like a stunt bartender — and he is gonna like present us all of the methods he can do. Effectively, he cannot do any of the methods. And he decides at one level, we have now this large bottle of Gray Goose, and Drew has a glass of ice in his left hand, and he is gonna maintain this bottle over his head and he is gonna pour it into the glass over his head. And the vodka is simply working down his arm. Like, he comes up eight inches quick. And he is obtained this actually triumphant smile on his face like, ‘Examine this out.’ … However he does in reality let his hair down often.”

Different positions on the courtroom in addition to level guard, Drew

Robert Meachem, former Saints receiver and highschool basketball standout: “I need to say a highschool gave him entry to a fitness center [one day during the 2008 offseason, when about 30-plus players spent the day playing pickup basketball]. And it was so humorous as a result of we had a play the place I truly obtained the ball. I used to be the quarterback, I used to be the purpose guard, and he had to go play one other place. And he did not like that. You understand, he is used to being in management, so he did not like that an excessive amount of. He had to change. He realized I used to be higher than he was at basketball in the intervening time.”

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Strief and Moore additionally laughed on the reminiscence of Brees and Meachem debating over who would play level guard — and Strief remembers everybody guarding Brees as if he had been inside of a “snow globe” as a result of no person wished to harm the QB. “We had been terrified of touching him, as a result of he is going 100 p.c,” Strief mentioned. However Moore gave Brees some credit score. “Drew’s expert, man. I imply, he is form of a tweener. I imply he is not a degree guard, however he is not a giant man. He is form of a taking pictures guard sort. However he is obtained a superb stroke.”

He is ‘only one of Daddy’s buddies’

Benjamin Watson, present Saints teammate: “My 7-yr-outdated, after we had been right here final time in 2015, it was, ‘Mr. Drew.’ You understand, ‘That is Mr. Drew, it is one of Daddy’s teammates.’ Now it is all of the sudden modified. Now it is like, ‘That is Drew Brees! Daddy, that is Drew Brees.’ … However after the video games, all the children are on the market working round and Drew’s on the market directing ’em. After one of these video games this season, there have been like 5 or 10 children, and he is lining them up like they’re in a recreation. And my Three-yr-outdated, he brings her on the market and he arms her the ball and he or she ran in for a landing — truly, she might need run the mistaken means. But it surely’s simply that sort of stuff that he does. He is very accessible. He is only one of the blokes. He is only one of Daddy’s buddies.” Fellow Saints tight finish Josh Hill shared an identical expertise of how Brees, who’s a father of 4 himself, is round his 5-yr-outdated son, Cooper. “It is superior to have a man like that that is performed on the degree he has for thus lengthy simply on the market taking part in with the children,” Hill mentioned. “I by no means would’ve thought one thing like that might’ve occurred. But it surely’s particular to see.”

Longtime buddy and advertising agent Chris Stuart, who began the Soccer N America flag soccer league with Brees, mentioned he marvels on the means Brees can at all times be so current within the second, switching from a recreation to that household time on the sphere to a late-evening enterprise discuss after the children go to mattress. “One of the issues that has at all times actually struck me and impressed me about Drew is that he actually cares about everybody — genuinely cares about his buddies, his household, his enterprise,” Stuart mentioned. “His means to be current wherever he’s, man it is such a neat high quality — and I feel it is a secret to his success.”

Drew Brees has a ardour for working with the youth, together with teaching one of his FNA flag-soccer groups as seen on this 2017 picture. Mike Triplett/ESPN.com

Early fowl will get the worm

Brees’ first backup quarterback in New Orleans, Jamie Martin, as soon as shared an ideal story with NOLA.com about how he arrived a lot sooner than deliberate on his first day in 2006 as a result of he had moved to the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain and heard that the fog might trigger prolonged visitors delays. “Drew walks in a couple of minutes later and says, ‘Hey, you get right here fairly early, huh?'” Martin recalled. “The subsequent day I get there, and certain sufficient, Drew’s automotive is already there within the car parking zone.” Martin grew to become the primary in a protracted line of Brees’ backups to understand how aggressive he’s. The quarterbacks’ elaborate passing challenges (skeet taking pictures, American Gladiators, concentrating on shifting carts down the sphere, you title it) have turn out to be a spotlight of coaching camp practices. Brees and longtime backup Chase Daniel would even race from drill to drill throughout practices to see whose toe would contact a chosen marker on the sphere. Aggressive as he’s, although, Daniel mentioned he cherished his expertise of studying below Brees when he first entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie in 2009. “He is one of the very best dudes I ever met,” mentioned Daniel, now a backup with the Chicago Bears, although he nonetheless trains with Brees and Brees’ coach Todd Durkin within the offseason. “Some quarterbacks I’ve heard across the league don’t desire to surrender secrets and techniques and stuff like that. However once I was there, he was all-in, and no matter I wanted to know he’d inform me. … I at all times give him credit score for actually instructing me how to breathe, act, sleep — every part on and off the sphere about being a quarterback.”

‘See, Dad! I advised you it wasn’t Drew Brees’

Loerzel: “We go on couples journeys each summer time, and [in 2017] we went to Cabo [Mexico] for 4 or 5 days. And we’re simply form of enjoyable by the pool, hanging out and having a couple of cocktails. And there is a croquet set over by the pool. And we resolve simply because we’re all aggressive to set it up and begin competing like we at all times do. And this younger child comes by, and he mentioned, ‘Excuse me, are you Drew Brees?’ And Drew mentioned, ‘Sure, I’m Drew Brees.’ And the little child goes, ‘No. My Dad mentioned you are Drew Brees and I do not assume you are Drew Brees.’ Effectively, the little child had a soccer in his arms, so I mentioned, ‘Why do not you give him the soccer and run out for a move?’ So he tossed the soccer to Drew and the child ran out for a move, and Drew threw up this duck. I imply, it was a horrible move. And it was as a result of the ball was like deflated, and he wasn’t anticipating this deflated ball. So the child runs and grabs his ball after this horrible move was thrown, and he shouts out, ‘See, Dad! I advised you it wasn’t Drew Brees!’ And we at all times crack up with that with him, we’ll snicker and say, ‘See, Dad! I advised you it wasn’t Drew Brees.'”

1-zero as a trial lawyer

Smith: “One summer time [in 1999] we went to Texas and frolicked along with his household at Lake LBJ close to Austin. Sports activities Illustrated was there doing a bit on Drew and the photographer was wanting to get motion photographs as we had been jet snowboarding within the lake. I obtained somewhat shut to the boat the place she was taking photos making an attempt to journey the wake, and subsequent factor I do know I used to be getting pulled over by the boat police. They wrote me a ticket for $100, and I used to be destroyed as a result of that was 100 that I did not have as a university child. To make issues worse, it was Memorial Day weekend, and we had been there for less than a pair extra days earlier than heading again to Purdue, so at the moment I believed there was no means to even attempt to get it overturned. However for some cause the decide was on the courthouse that day and agreed to meet with us. And since each of Drew’s mother and father had been legal professionals it was determined that he would symbolize me. We gave our aspect of the story to a decide, and he form of laughed at it — I feel he most likely knew who Drew was. And he form of gave us a tough time about it, mentioned, ‘Guidelines are guidelines.’ However then he simply gave us a warning. I do not know if Drew was that good as my counsel or if the decide felt sorry for a bunch of faculty children, however he let me off with a warning. So, I assume it could be right in saying that Drew is 1-zero as a trial lawyer.”

A reluctant Drew Brees acknowledges he completed second place to longtime buddy Ben Smith in an impromptu recreation of “21” they invented with Smith’s son’s junior-sized soccer throughout a current trip to Hawaii. Courtesy of Ben Smith

Can see along with his eyes closed

Keenan McCardell, former Chargers extensive receiver: “I obtained there proper after Week eight of the common season [in 2004], obtained traded there. … I keep in mind the primary Wednesday that I obtained there, after follow he mentioned, ‘Keenan, let’s play some catch afterwards.’ [Drew] mentioned, ‘Simply keep in entrance of me.’ It was one thing like Michael Jordan the place he closes his eyes and shoots the free throw. He closed his eyes and I used to be standing in entrance of him [10 yards away] and I am like, ‘What are you doing?’ He mentioned, ‘Simply keep there.’ He mentioned, ‘I simply need to attempt to really feel the place you might be.’ He mentioned, ‘You’ll be able to step to the aspect and I am simply making an attempt to really feel.’ … I began laughing afterwards. I mentioned, ‘Drew, that is the primary time I’ve ever seen someone shut their eyes and throw me the ball and hit me in between the eight and seven.’ He began laughing. After that, I noticed you had someone particular.”

There are not any weeks off right here

Brandin Cooks, former Saints extensive receiver: “We each lived in Del Mar [in the offseason]. A protracted story, however I lived a pair doorways down from him — thanks to him, we’ll simply say that. And I keep in mind on a bye week us going residence. And you understand, bye week, you assume of like chill out and get better, whatnot. However simply being on that very same web page, we went to our again alley and we had been taking part in lengthy toss. We had been most likely on the market for about an hour. And I feel what makes him nice is how correct he’s. And simply excited about that second on how particular he was, even within the streets, on the place he wished to put the ball made me understand that this man takes each little element under consideration and that makes him particular. And he is an even higher particular person.”

ESPN reporters Jeff Dickerson, Michael DiRocco and Lindsey Thiry contributed to this report.

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