After a prolific college football career with the Purdue Boilermakers, Drew Brees was selected by the San Diego Chargers with the first pick in the second round of the NFL draft.
He left school as one of the most decorated players in Big Ten Conference history with two NCAA records, 13 Big Ten Conference records and 19 Purdue University records. Playing in the same era as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, Brees’ greatness sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. But, rest assured the future Hall-of-Famer definitely isn’t forgotten by the defenses he torched over the years.
Now, the New Orleans Saints quarterback will suit up with history just in reach. Brees, the consummate professional he is, will only focus on getting a win Monday night. Try as he might, however, part of his attention will be devoted to two records he could break during that game. One being career passing total with only 201 more passing yards, and career TD’s with 4 to go for the 500 TD club. Brett Favre and Peyton Manning are the legends in reach of the passing record.
“I never even thought, ‘Hey, I am going to have to play this many years in order to accomplish something like that,” Brees said. “When my first NFL game in the preseason was at Miami back in 2001, and I remember walking in the stadium for the first time and looking up in the Ring of Honor and seeing Dan Marino’s name and every passing record next to it that is in that Ring of Honor there. Just looking at those numbers is mind-boggling. At the time I was just hoping to solidify the backup position and eventually maybe one day be a starter. So it’s just kind of mind-boggling.”
It is indeed mind-boggling that any of Peyton Manning’s records are in danger. Rule changes have certainly helped the quarterback and offense, but that doesn’t take away from Brees’ greatness. Eventually, his records will be in danger. Brees is now the last man standing from the 2001 NFL draft class. Here he is now as one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the sport of American football. Even so, that destiny seemed grim at one point in his career.
In the last game of the 2005 season against the Denver Broncos, Brees tore his labrum while trying to pick up his own fumble after being hit by Broncos safety John Lynch. Brees, who was supposed to sign with the Miami Dolphins, instead inked with the Saints following a misdiagnosis by Miami. Brees helped spearhead the rebirth of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Now, at a time when so much focus is being placed on how long Tom Brady Will play, few question Brees’ career staying power. Perhaps Brees, who turns 40 in January, will end up playing so long, his upcoming career yardage record will stand for a very long time. The forgotten man of his era has secured his place in the history books.