Dollars and sense with Drew Brees

NEW ORLEANS – When Drew Brees signed his $100 million contract last summer, he became the highest-paid player in NFL history.

That’s why he could chuckle a bit when he reflected on how his financial picture wasn’t always so rosy. Speaking to a group of high school students as part of Visa’s Financial Football program, the New Orleans Saints' quarterback recalled the story of how he got his first cell phone when he was a junior at Purdue. He said he called all his friends to tell them he had a cell phone.

“The wireless company knows you have a cell phone too and they like to charge you for the minutes you rack up,’’ Brees said.

Brees racked up a $2,000 bill that he wasn’t able to pay until he got his rookie signing bonus. That showed up on his credit report and came back to haunt him in the form of a high interest rate when he bought his first house.

Brees was able to overcome that and said he realized he was lucky he had the skills to earn an NFL salary. But he told the students that, no matter how much you make, it’s important to live within your means.

“I could go out and drive a Ferrari if I wanted to,’’ Brees said. “I drive a Chevy Tahoe.’’