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Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
NEW ORLEANS -- I got to speak with former New Orleans Saints linebacker Pat Swilling before the ESPN Monday Night Football Chalk Talk Luncheon at the Superdome.
Swilling also is taking part in the Alltel "My Circle Gridiron Getaway" sweepstakes and will be sitting with winner Sheila Severin and 10 of her friends in a suite at tonight's game. Fans can enter future contests by texting the word JET to 57533 or logging on to alltelfootball.com.
Here's my conversation with Swilling:
What have you been up to lately?
Pat Swilling: I've got a real estate development company. I've been real busy since Katrina, trying to help the city turn around. We've come a long way in three years, but it's still ongoing.
How big a role have the Saints played in the recovery?
PS: Tom Benson and the Saints have been real important, especially with the first Monday night game and how they got the community to rally around them. Players like Deuce McAllister are always doing something for the community. Guys like that play a big role in keeping the mood of the city up.
The Saints sometimes are mentioned as a candidate for relocation. Do you see that ever happening?
PS: When I was in the legislature, we stepped up and put together a $260 million package for them. I think that will always happen. This is not the biggest media market, but the Saints belong to New Orleans and to the state and to the region. We all want to keep it that way.
What's your take on the Saints this year?
PS: I'm a big fan of Sean Payton. He's energetic and a really good head coach. I think he's a brilliant football mind. He believes in discipline and all that, but he's taken Drew Brees to a different level. Drew was already good, but he and Sean really get along well. He understands what Sean wants and really executes that offense.
With Tom Brady out and Peyton Manning not having his typical year, is Brees the best quarterback in the league?
PS: I think right now he is without a doubt. Peyton is somewhat struggling and he's been hurt. I don't think there's any better than Peyton Manning. But, right now, as far as a guy who's commanding respect, running the offense and doing everything it takes to be a great quarterback, I think Drew Brees is the guy right now.