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Brees hopes memoir will help inspire others who face adversity

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; NEW ORLEANS -- Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees often asks himself if there's anything he could have done to prevent his mother from committing suicide. The New Orleans Saints quarterback initially viewed his mother's death as very personal, but he ...

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Old 07-07-2010, 12:19 AM   #1
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Brees hopes memoir will help inspire others who face adversity

NEW ORLEANS -- Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees often asks himself if there's anything he could have done to prevent his mother from committing suicide.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback initially viewed his mother's death as very personal, but he opens up about that tragedy as well as other failures and misfortunes in his new book, "Coming Back Stronger."

In the book, Brees writes, "I ask myself the question often: Could I have saved her?"


Brees led the Saints to glory despite being in mourning -- and guilt-ridden -- over the August 2009 death of his mother, Mina. Although Brees didn't discuss his mother's death in detail during the season, he devoted a chapter in the book to his relationship with her. He reflects on his alienation from his mother in adulthood, wondering whether he could have handled it differently.

Brees said Tuesday that he realized during many late nights sitting at his laptop computer in his kitchen that writing about his mother's death could serve as therapy for him and advice for others.

"I felt like it was very appropriate because I feel like so many people deal with that, be it the relationship with a parent or death of a loved one, whatever it might be," Brees said. "I wanted to address it in a way that was very sensitive to my family, but also very truthful, hoping that if somebody else has gone through that, or not gotten over it, or is not sure how to handle a situation like that.

"Maybe this can help."

Brees said he set out to write a memoir that could help readers find ways to turn adversity into opportunities to improve themselves and their lives.

Certainly, Brees has experience with that.

"I know that I've had so many experiences in my life and lessons learned through adversity, where I feel like if it wasn't for that adversity, then I certainly wouldn't be where I am now or have the opportunities that I had to get me to this point," Brees said by telephone from New York, where he made a series of appearances coinciding with Tuesday's official release of his first book.

Brees writes that even his first meeting with his wife, Brittany, was a flop in which he described himself acting like an "idiot" and leaving her with a terrible first impression.

Brees' football career from high school through college at Purdue and the NFL was loaded with setbacks detailed in the book, the worst being a career-threatening throwing shoulder injury in 2005 that effectively ended his playing days with the San Diego Chargers.


Brees then joined the Saints, longtime losers in a city recently devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Brees' recovery outpaced his doctors' predictions, he has played brilliantly ever since, and now rebuilding New Orleans boasts of its first Super Bowl title.

"It was very much a mentality of, 'No matter what, I'm always going to find the positive out of the negative and I'm going to come back stronger,'" Brees said. "I certainly feel that New Orleans has taken that philosophy. If you look at post-Katrina New Orleans, in a lot of ways it's come back better than it was before.

"Certainly, there's a lot of work to be done, but I try to draw the parallel in a lot of ways as to why I belonged in New Orleans and New Orleans was a calling for me. We all had the same thing in mind and we all were there to help each other."

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Old 07-07-2010, 04:40 AM   #2
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Re: Brees hopes memoir will help inspire others who face adversity

This goes without saying but, I am so damn glad this guy plays for us.
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:21 PM   #3
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Re: Brees hopes memoir will help inspire others who face adversity

True Dat !!! Who Dat.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees knows how to define adversity as well as anyone.

Now the Super Bowl MVP has conveyed his message of overcoming challenges and rebounding as a more grounded and hopeful person in his memoir, "Coming Back Stronger," which was released Tuesday.
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Brees tells his story of overcoming a potentially career-ending shoulder injury with the San Diego Chargers in 2005 and how that opened the door for him to join the Saints and embark on the journey to win a Super Bowl. He also writes about his experience of becoming part of New Orleans and other moments in his life when he has called upon his faith in God to carry him through.
"I really poured my heart and soul into the book," Brees said. "It's a labor of love, and I hope everybody gets out of it what I put into it. I did it with the belief it could help a lot of people."
Brees said the part of the book to which he devoted the most time was where he addresses his mother's suicide.
Brees' parents divorced when he was 7 years old, and in chapter 15, Brees recounts the news of his mother's death Aug. 7, 2009.
He calls his relationship with his mother "toxic," in that he felt like a different person around her -- "someone he did not want to be."
In the face of the tragedy enveloping his family, Brees tells how he and his family overcame feelings of guilt and sadness and ultimately strengthened their bond, consistently praying for his mother and realizing the healing power of God in any situation.
"You immediately have so many regrets," Brees said. "You're searching for answers and start tracing back through your memory about the last seven and eight years to all the things you wish you would have done differently."
Although it was challenging to put "one of the toughest experiences of my life" into words, he said it was well worth the effort to provide solace to readers enduring similar hardships.
"It's a very private and very sensitive thing, but I felt like I owed it to myself and to others who might have gone through something like this," Brees said. "I hope it might be therapy for them and help others."
Helping others is something Brees and his wife, Brittany, have routinely done before and since they moved to New Orleans.
In addition to the Brees Dream Foundation the couple established in 2003, Drew and Brittany have raised $5 million for cancer research and care for cancer patients, as well as aid for rebuilding schools, parks and playgrounds in New Orleans, San Diego and the Purdue area in West Lafayette, Ind.
In chapter 13, Brees writes, "I sensed that God was bringing us (to New Orleans) for a reason ... As much as Brittany and I have invested in New Orleans in terms of football and the foundation, the city has given it all back to us tenfold."
He said the city's recovery from Hurricane Katrina is a prime example of his message to come back stronger.
"This city gets in your blood pretty quick, " Brees said. "And as terrible as Katrina was, many people will look back on it years from now as an opportunity that was created to really start over and build the foundation back up in a lot of ways better than it was before."
What ultimately led Brees to the opportunity to become a Saint was a dislocated right shoulder he suffered in the Chargers' final regular-season game against the Denver Broncos on Dec. 31, 2005.
He said at the time he initially struggled to see anything but the worst-case scenario -- that he might never wear an NFL uniform again.
Now his outlook is very different, as Brees said his faith enabled him to get through that bump on the road to the pinnacle of NFL success -- a Super Bowl championship for a team that had never been on that stage before Brees' arrival.
"(My shoulder injury) was probably the best thing that ever happened to me because it brought me to New Orleans and gave me the opportunities I've had here, " Brees said.
Another opportunity Drew and Brittany have is to raise their children in New Orleans. Their son, Baylen, was born in January 2009, and Brittany now is pregnant with a second boy, due in October.
It wasn't always a cinch that Brees would continue his career with the Saints after his injury. Brees details how the decision was made in chapter seven, "Miami vs. New Orleans."
Brees and his agent, Tom Condon, were significantly leaning toward Miami after his contract fell through with San Diego. He writes that it was "hard to see anything but the cons" of New Orleans, a team with a lot of unknowns that had been dysfunctional for a long time and just gone through the biggest natural disaster in the history of the country, Condon said.
But it was a call to then-Dolphins Coach Nick Saban that sealed his future.
Brees knew the Saints' message to him was, "We want you here, and we believe in you, " but the Dolphins were more hesitant to place faith in Brees in light of his shoulder injury.
That tentative attitude from the Dolphins was all Brees needed to finalize his decision to sign with the Saints.
Now four years later, Brees expresses his gratitude to the city for saving him on his road to coming back stronger.
"I've always had a strong faith that God has a purpose for all of us, " Brees said. "He's led me to exactly where I am right now."



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Old 07-07-2010, 02:26 PM   #4
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Re: Brees hopes memoir will help inspire others who face adversity

Out of adversity comes opportunities. It's what you do with those that help to define you as a person. It's better to find something positive from a negative and grow from it. We should all learn from our past.
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