Saints quarterback Drew Brees came up with a unique way to thank the many people who helped him become the NFL’s all-time passing leader according to Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com.
After breaking the league’s career passing yardage record, Brees sent commemorative footballs to 174 pass catchers, offensive linemen, coaches and other contributors that helped him accomplish this monumental feat. Brees said Friday he wanted to “take care of those who take care of me.”
Brees broke the record on October 8 before a national television audience on Monday Night Football during a blowout win over the Washington Redskins, surpassing Peyton Manning’s previous mark of 71,940 yards. Brees now has 73,908 passing yards and counting.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis as well as the team’s public relations staff helped him compile the list, which included 15 current pass catchers, 84 former pass catchers, seven current blockers, 49 former blockers, 11 coaches and eight other contributors. Among the contributors are Saints owner Gayle Benson, his throwing mechanics coach Tom House and Dr. James Andrews, who performed his shoulder surgery in January 2006.
“I wanted to do something for everybody,” Brees said. “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. So, let’s get a list of all the pass catchers and the number of catches and the number of yards, and let’s put together a game ball for them and put those statistics on there for them, so they know that they have a piece of this and they were an important part of it. Wrote a note to them as well and signed it and included that in there.
“And then I started thinking, well, it’s not just about the receivers, it’s about the guys blocking. 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.”
Each football has the recipient’s name. For former receivers, it included their receptions and receiving yards from Brees. The Saints sent out the balls for Brees earlier this week, so they’ve been arriving the past couple days. And Brees said he might still send out more balls as other participants come to light. It is a classy move by a classy individual.