- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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DAVIE, Fla. -- It’s an old story in South Florida, but it's definitely an interesting one. There was a time when New Orleans Saints Pro Bowler Drew Brees nearly became the Miami Dolphins' franchise quarterback.
Brees was a free-agent quarterback in 2006. The Dolphins and Saints were the two biggest suitors. However, Brees was coming off a major shoulder injury, which put fear in the Dolphins.
Miami wound up backing out of the Brees sweepstakes and signed Daunte Culpepper instead. New Orleans signed Brees and went on to multiple playoff seasons and one Super Bowl victory, while the Dolphins struggled with the quarterback position.
“I do believe I was their first choice, but at the end of the day I felt like New Orleans was the best fit for me for a lot of reasons, not just football,” Brees said on Thursday’s conference call with the Miami media. “I know they ran me through a round of physicals and evaluations and all kinds of stuff when I was there, which was not a good experience obviously. But I understood. They were going to put a big investment in me, so they wanted to make sure.”
Brees said he recalls Miami’s doctors saying he had about a 25 percent chance of playing in the NFL again. Obviously, they were wrong. Brees, 34, has been one of the NFL’s most durable and productive quarterbacks. He missed just one game in New Orleans over the past eight seasons.
It's a small sidebar to Monday’s battle of undefeated teams, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Brees has moved on and so have the Dolphins, who finally have a young gunslinger in second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
“Here’s the thing: We can sit back and chuckle at it now, but there’s no hard feelings,” Brees explained of his Miami experience. “Everything happened the way it was supposed to. I don’t think about it for a second. I really don’t.”