NEW ORLEANS – The decision for Drew Brees to come to New Orleans was initially a difficult one.
In 2006, Brees was looking to continue his career after shoulder surgery and a failed contract negotiation with the San Diego Chargers.
Miami and New Orleans were the two teams on Brees’ radar.
Although his agent warned him that New Orleans was still devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Brees flew to the city to meet with Saints management. His goal was to use that meeting to gain contract leverage with the Dolphins.
When Brees Landed in New Orleans, he didn’t know what to expect. It was a gloomy, rainy day, but he was quickly ushered into a limo with what he said were the darkest tinted windows.
Saints Head Coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis kept Brees and his wife Brittany talking. It was their way to keep them distracted from looking at the devastation caused by Katrina.
The Saints took Drew and Brittany to Emeril’s for a private dinner.
The franchise’s mission was to treat Drew and Brittany as family. Brees felt their message was “We want you here. We believe in you.” That blind faith from Payton and Loomis blew Brees away.
While showing the city, Payton took a wrong turn. That allowed Drew and Brittany to see Katrina’s wrath.
In his book, Home Team, Payton said he though the wrong turn killed any chance he had of convincing Drew of signing with the Saints. In Brees book, Coming Back Stronger, Brees said he saw an opportunity to not only rebuild a franchise, but a city as well.
After a few prayers and one final phone call with the Dolphins, Brees made his decision. He was going to be a Saint.
Brees lead the Saints to the Superbowl.
15 years after signing, it’s a decision he, the franchise and their fans are all thankful he made.
Brees certainly has a career he can be proud of.
In his book, he offered this advice, “Stand up tall and do the right thing. You can do more than survive…you can come back stronger.”