- Mike Triplett, ESPN Staff Writer
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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees touched on severak interesting topics with Sports Illustrated’s Peter King earlier in training camp. Here are some highlights from the Q&A, which was published Thursday:
Asked about his relationship with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being on opposite sides of the CBA negotiations and the Saints' bounty scandal, Brees paused before saying: “I mean, fine. I can’t say that I’ve talked to him in three years.” Brees said, “I’m not one to hold a grudge.” And he said Goodell has done some good things as a commissioner and he believes both of them want to leave the game better than they found it. But Brees said it’s clear that Goodell works for the owners, so players will often be on the other side of league issues.
When asked in general if he feels any lingering bitterness over the bounty scandal, Brees said, “No. No. Because I’m so positive and try to turn negative situations into positive ones.” He said he thinks the Saints are a better team and Sean Payton is a better coach after going through that hardship, comparing it to when he was benched by the San Diego Chargers early in his career. However, Brees said, “I will always be disappointed that I feel like I let Sean down [by going 7-9 that year]. We wanted to win so bad for him and the situation. But that’s the only thing that I still feel.”
Brees also reflected to his choice to play for the Saints instead of the Miami Dolphins in 2006, when Miami had more concerns about his surgically-repaired shoulder. “Who knows what would have happened in Miami?” Brees said. “[But] I got to play for Sean Payton. He’s been so instrumental in my development as a quarterback. He’s given me so much confidence in myself. He’s built this system around my strengths. Would that have happened in Miami? No, because there wasn’t a Sean Payton there.”
Brees talked more about this lofty goal of playing until he’s 45. He mentioned pitcher Nolan Ryan as an example of what he’s envisioning – as long as he stays healthy and keeps playing at a high level. “I don’t wanna just be bumming around this league at age 45.”
Brees said breaking all of the NFL passing records is lower on his list of priorities. When asked what he’d like to legacy to be, Brees said, “What I want people to say about me is that I was a great football player, that I cared about my teammates. I want people to say, ‘Man, I would have loved to play with that guy.’”