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Saintswrath 02-03-2010 12:34 AM

Drew Brees the athlete deserves credit, too
By Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune
February 02, 2010, 10:00PM

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. - The last time Drew Brees played a football game at Sun Life Stadium, he celebrated a touchdown by spiking the ball over the goal post.

drew_brees_dunks.jpgG. Andrew Boyd/The Times-PicayuneNew Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees' athleticism arguably is the most underappreciated aspect of his game. The feat inspired New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton to ask his star quarterback on the plane ride home after the win over the Miami Dolphins if he jumped off the back of an offensive lineman to make the dunk over the 10-foot-high crossbar.

It was Payton's way of needling Brees about one of the most overlooked aspects of his game: His athleticism.

Few folks recognize it. Reporters bombarded Brees with questions for an hour on media day Tuesday, and not one query was about his athletic skills. In fact, he can go months without someone mentioning it.

But ask anyone in the Saints' locker room about Brees' athletic skills and you'll hear a litany of testimonies. He's not just the unquestioned leader of the NFC champions. He's also one of their best all-around athletes.

"He is a way better athlete than people realize, " former Buccaneers Coach Jon Gruden said. "He is a phenomenal, gifted, talented athlete."

Part of Brees' problem is perception. He's short and white. Quarterbacks of his stature and race tend to get stereotyped.

We've all heard the generalization, the cliché of the cagey white quarterback who overcomes his lack of athletic skills with intelligence and unrelenting work ethic. It's the opposite stereotype black quarterbacks have fought over the years.

Brees has felt the slight.

"I guess I'd just say this, as a 6-foot quarterback in this league you had better have some athletic ability, because that's really all you have going for you in a lot of ways, right?" Brees said.

Saints tight end Billy Miller learned the hard way about Brees' all-around athletic skills. During USO Tours overseas in recent years, the pair would often train together. To mix things up, they'd square off in basketball or racquetball.

Miller, at 6 feet 3 and 252 pounds, figured he had an advantage over Brees. Each time Brees soundly defeated the tight end, who was a good enough athlete at Westlake Village (Calif.) High School to play running back and start for three seasons in basketball.

"Don't let him fool ya, " Miller said. "He's a very good athlete -- and he's not shy in telling you about it, either. He's extremely competitive."

Brees owes his precocious athletic skills to superior genetics.

His mother was an all-state track, volleyball and basketball player in high school. His father played freshman basketball at Texas A&M. His uncle was an All-American wishbone quarterback at Texas in the early 1970s. His grandfather, Ray Atkins, was a legendary high school football coach in the Austin area.

With a heritage like that, athletics were a part of Brees' life from the outset. He played every sport introduced to him and dreamed of becoming an Olympic athlete.

"I loved the decathlon, " Brees said. "I wasn't that fast. But I could do a little bit of everything."

There was hardly a sport Brees couldn't master.

At the age of 12, he was the top-ranked tennis player in Texas and defeated Andy Roddick three times as a junior.

That same year he set an Austin city record with 14 Little League home runs and was chosen to play on a youth soccer select team.

A few years later he starred in three sports at Westlake High School: football, basketball and .... (read the rest at below link)

Drew Brees the athlete deserves credit, too: Jeff Duncan | New Orleans Saints Central - -

breesfan27 02-03-2010 12:46 AM

Re: Drew Brees the athlete deserves credit, too
He is an amazing athlete!

This is one of my favorite pictures of him in action. I literally squealed with delight when he dunked the football over the crossbar!

ColoWhoDat 02-03-2010 09:58 AM

Re: Drew Brees the athlete deserves credit, too
WAY underrated...gotta admit that when I saw that dunk, I was shocked...

Rugby Saint II 02-03-2010 03:02 PM

Re: Drew Brees the athlete deserves credit, too
Beating Andy Roddick was what really raised an eye brow. He would have made an excellent Rugby player.

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