/Brees keeps setting NFL records, but Deuce recalls the uncertainty of 2006

Brees keeps setting NFL records, but Deuce recalls the uncertainty of 2006

Brees is 6’1″ tall and has been rumored to be too short to play in the NFL. He’s now too old. How on Earth did he manage to complete Monday’s feat in the Louisiana Superdome? He completed 29 of 30 passes, a record for accuracy, for 307 yards and four touchdowns during the New Orleans Saints’ 34-7 win over Indianapolis. He broke the NFL record for most career touchdowns set by Peyton Manning at 40 years old and 11 months. Drew Brees is difficult to comprehend, says Deuce McAllister, a former teammate. It is essential to see Drew Brees’ focus, willpower and determination firsthand. McAllister said that you will still find yourself wondering, “How in hell did Drew do it?” Brees, McAllister and their shared history of being undervalued professionals and suffering potentially life-threatening injuries. McAllister was a senior at Ole Miss, while Brees was a Purdue senior. They became close friends on the All-American circuit and all-star games circuit. McAllister would run for over 6,000 yards and score 54 touchdowns during an injury-shortened NFL career. He was not picked by the Saints until the 23rd round. The San Diego Chargers picked Brees nine picks later in the second round. Five years later, in 2006 they became close friends and eventually teammates. McAllister stated, “Lots and lots of people don’t know this but Drew was recovering from serious injuries in Birmingham before he signed for the Saints.” “We were both at Dr. James Andrews’ Birmingham facility, where we worked with Kevin Wilkes. Kevin was our trainer. Drew was rehabilitating his shoulder after a knee operation. We didn’t know that we would become colleagues.” McAllister recalls this about Brees. “He was obsessed with his workouts. He was obsessed with his workouts. He was so obsessed about his workouts that I thought, “Something’s wrong with him.” You all know what happened. According to Saban, he signed Daunte Cullpepper over Brees after receiving advice from Dolphins doctors. Brees signed with Saints, still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, and under new coach Sean Payton. Brees signed a $60 million, six-year contract. It may be the most expensive $60 million ever spent. The 2006 Saints were trained at Millsaps, and they impressed no one. They were terrible. They lost three of their four preseason games by 49 points. That preseason was covered by me. I was concerned that the Saints would lose the regular season. McAllister was not surprised when I mentioned this to him. There wasn’t much to love. “We weren’t sure.” Brees’ passing arm was perhaps the most impressive. His passes were slow and sometimes wobbled or fluttered early in camp. You can see Monday night’s record-breaking performance. It featured some of the most precise and tightest spirals ever seen. It was a different training camp than he had 13 years ago. McAllister stated that McAllister didn’t believe McAllister had the strength to lift his shoulder. “Honestly, we didn’t know if he would be able to get it back.” Brees said he would. He said that he was “85-90 percent” fully recovered in a post-practice interview. Brees stated, “There is no doubt that I could play right now.” McAllister admitted that he was one of the doubters. McAllister said, “You have to remember that I am trying to get back from ACL surgery by myself, trying to prove I can still play.” Drew’s throwing shoulder was the problem and it didn’t look great early on. “I didn’t know if Drew was going to get his throwing shoulder back or if it would last, but I had serious doubts all through the preseason. McAllister stated that we didn’t see Drew the real Drew until the Saints’ season opener in Cleveland (19-14). “Then he became better and more talented.” The Saints won their first three regular-season games after losing their three preseason games. Both McAllister’s knee and Brees’ shoulder were strengthened. Brees threw 4,400 yards. McAllister ran more than 1,000 yards. They went on to finish the regular season at 10-6. McAllister, now a Saints radio commentator 13 years later, is still amazed at his former teammate’s skill and endurance. McAllister retired with his knees ruined in 2008. Brees still throws it. McAllister admitted that he thought this would be the season for Drew. McAllister said, “I mean he’s going be 41. This was what I thought. But I’m not certain. This is what I know: He won’t decide to retire because his body has failed or he can no longer throw the ball. He could still play for a couple more years, which I believe is a strong belief. It wouldn’t be surprising to me. Drew is not surprising me at all.