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SmashMouth 08-28-2011 10:22 PM

How knee injury proved pivotal for Drew Brees
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It was during the first half of a high school football regional playoff game in Alice, Texas, that the fateful injury occurred in November 1995.

A capacity crowd of 10,500 had gathered to see Austin Westlake take on the hometown favorites, the Alice Coyotes.

Westlake coach Ron Schroeder called a bootleg for his star quarterback, Drew Brees. The junior took the snap from center, faked a handoff and rolled to his left. As he tucked the football into his stomach, he was struck in the left knee by a defensive end. Brees stumbled to the turf clutching his knee.

"I quit running bootlegs after that," Schroeder said.

For Brees, the consequences were more far-reaching. His season was over, cut short by a torn anterior cruciate ligament. It's a ligament the size of a pinky that passes behind the kneecap, attaching the thigh to the lower leg.

If not for that torn ligament, Brees might not have played for Purdue University and led the Boilermakers to their only Rose Bowl appearance since 1967. By extension, New Orleans might not have signed Brees to a six-year contract and gone on to win the Super Bowl in 2010. And thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina might not have enjoyed the financial and morale boost that Brees' philanthropic efforts would eventually provide.

But at the time, lying on his back in south Texas, the 16-year-old Brees was terrified. He'd never before faced an injury of such magnitude. It was the first but not the only time the future Super Bowl MVP would have to overcome a potentially devastating setback.

"That was a big, defining moment," Brees said during a summer visit in West Lafayette. "I had seen other athletes tear their ACLs and not come back the same. It really scared me at the time."

Those fears subsided. He had surgery in January 1996 and was fully recovered when his senior year started. Brees led the Westlake Chaps to the Class 5A Division II state title, capping an undefeated season. It remains Westlake's only football state championship.

"At the time, it was the hardest thing I ever had to do, both mentally and physically," Brees said.

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Crusader 08-29-2011 01:49 AM

Good read, thanks for posting!

homerj07 08-29-2011 07:28 AM

The man does the right thing, says the right thing & looks the right way. He is the picture of what a QB should be!!

44Champs 08-29-2011 03:59 PM


Rugby Saint II 08-30-2011 02:30 PM

You'll hear pessimists say that everybody has ulterior motives.........not Drew. He was probably poked fun of at school because of his birth mark which helped him develop even more character and a hard work ethic.
He's a humble man and he wants "World Peace".......and oh yeah, a few more Superbowl rings.

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