A classy gesture by one of the true gentlemen in the NFL.
Drew Brees took the time out of his schedule during the New Orleans Saints’ bye week in October to show his gratitude for those involved in helping him become the NFL’s all-time leading passer.
Brees surpassed Peyton Manning to achieve the feat during an Oct. 8 victory on Monday Night Football vs. the Washington Redskins.
Brees also sent footballs to 11 coaches and eight contributors. In total, there were 174 balls issued according to the Saints.
Drew Brees sent a customized game ball and a personalized letter to anybody that caught a pass from him or started at offensive line during his career for their contributions to his all-time @NFL passing yardage record! pic.twitter.com/2moAcXFpfC
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) December 14, 2018
The Saints legend and future Hall of Fame members explained why this was so important to him.
“I wanted to do something for everybody,” Brees said to The Advocate. “Obviously the emotions that came after that and just the reflections. It was good that we were going into a bye week because it gave me a chance just to take a deep breath. And you just start thinking about all the guys that had a hand in that. And so I think naturally you start thinking, ‘OK, well, a lot of people have caught those balls.”
It’s only fitting that so many balls got handed out because it took a total team effort.
“Well, it’s not just about the receivers, it’s about the guys blocking,” Brees said to The Advocate. “So it’s like, ‘Alright, let’s find every offensive lineman that’s ever started a game.’ So we did that. Then I started thinking about coaches, then I started thinking about other people as well. So it was actually a long list. But I just wanted to do that for them.”
Brees has gotten videos from former teammates such as LaDainian Tomlinson and Brandin Cooks upon receiving the presents.
Saints rookie Tre’Quan Smith, who caught the record-setting pass on a 62-yard touchdown, is touched by Brees’ thoughtfulness.
No. 9 just became No. 1 all-time 🙌 pic.twitter.com/fbk9uxaOFa
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) October 9, 2018
“That just means a lot,” Smith said to The Advocate. “That’s the kind of person he is. I don’t know if everybody does that, but him sending out balls and sending out letters to guys who helped him accomplish his mission just shows what kind of guy he is. You want to be around somebody like that who shows appreciation.”
There’s 15 current Saints that have caught passes from Brees, including tight end Ben Watson, who is proud to line up alongside one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever take the field.
“It’s him,” Watson said to The Advocate. “It’s surprising but it’s not surprising at the same time that he would give a special thanks to the guys that helped him along the way. Obviously this is his accomplishment but him being the leader that he is, he loves to defer praise to other people. … It is special playing a small part of history.”