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B/R Exclusive: Drew Brees Talks Retirement, Saints QBs, Lowe's Charity and More

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2021

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) warms up before the first half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

Drew Brees still has his sights set high even after retirement from the NFL

"I think Jason Statham," he told Bleacher Report while laughing when asked who would play him in the Netflix movie Home Team that will star Kevin James as New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. "I need a good action actor, and he's kind of got the male-pattern baldness going like I do."

While Brees may have no trouble picking the ideal actor to play him in a movie, he wasn't ready to predict who will win the Saints' quarterback job now that he is retired.

That will fall on Payton's shoulders, although the legendary quarterback praised Jameis Winston.

"I think Jameis has all the tools," Brees said. "I love his work ethic. I love his passion for the game. He loves football, and you can see it in the way that he works and his preparation throughout the week and his approach. And his attitude, he's such a fun guy to be around and has so much energy and juice at practice. He's a guy that has great leadership ability and great charisma who really draws people in that way."

The Saints re-signed the 2015 No. 1 overall pick to a one-year deal this offseason, which appeared to signal something of a commitment to the Florida State product. While Winston led the league with 30 interceptions in 2019 when he was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he also led the league with 5,109 passing yards that same season.

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He was a Pro Bowler in his rookie season and threw a 56-yard touchdown in New Orleans' playoff loss to the Buccaneers on a trick play.

Then there's Taysom Hill, who started four games in 2020 when Brees was out with injury. The Saints went 3-1 in those contests, but Hill is probably better as a versatile threat who can make plays with his legs, line up as a receiver or contribute on special teams more than he is a pure downfield thrower.

"Taysom Hill is one of the most unique and talented and hardworking and tough football players I've ever been around," Brees said. "If someone were to take the time to really develop a system around him, I think Taysom Hill would be extremely successful as an NFL quarterback. … He's such a matchup problem, when he comes into the game as a defensive coordinator you have no idea where he's going to be or what he's going to do or what he's capable of. He provides such an advantage."

Whoever replaces Brees will be under plenty of pressure considering the future Hall of Famer became synonymous with the Saints while winning a Super Bowl, being named to 13 Pro Bowls and throwing for more yards (80,358) than any quarterback in NFL history.

No. 9 is no longer throwing touchdowns, but he has a new job in retirement.

He is set to be the new general manager of the Lowe's Home Team, which is a group of current and former NFL players who will partner with Lowe's associates and non-profit organizations to improve homes around the country.

Drew Brees @drewbrees

Did you guys hear I got a new job with @lowes? You can call me the GM of the #LowesHomeTeam. #ad https://t.co/dogrQqIDS0

The team will provide safe and affordable housing for fans in NFL cities, while Brees will help with projects and inspire other players to do the same.

"I was part of the selection process of choosing guys like Justin Fields, Najee Harris and some other NFL players to join alongside Lowe's associates and nonprofit organizations in communities to help build those communities and make them stronger," Brees explained. "There's some really unique projects that Lowe's has been involved in through the years and will be involved with this year. Like last year, distributing over a million Christmas trees throughout the country during the holidays to local communities. We had a chance to be a part of that in New Orleans, which was really great and made a lot of people happy during the holiday season."

Brees, who shared the 2006 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award with LaDainian Tomlinson, is no stranger to giving back off the field.

In addition to the Brees Dream Foundation's mission of "improving the quality of life for cancer patients, and providing care, education and opportunities for children and families in need" he and his wife, Brittany, committed $5 million to Louisiana in the state's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's a responsibility that we all have being in positions of leadership and influence to be able to give back like that," he said.

While Brees helped select Fields for the Lowe's Home Team, he said he hasn't studied enough tape to pick a favorite quarterback in the incoming draft class when it comes to on-field talent.

Still, he recognized how talented the collective of Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Fields, Trey Lance and Mac Jones can be as they look to transform the league.

"Now more than ever these quarterbacks are coming in prepared to start and contribute," Brees said. "I don't know if that's just their development up through high school and seven-on-seven to college playing in systems that are pretty sophisticated. Obviously, the level of competition is very high when you go to a school like Clemson or Alabama or Ohio State, but it will be interesting to see the contributions these guys can have right away."

Brees was part of a generation of game-changing quarterbacks alongside Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and others who dominated the league for more than a decade.

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

This year's draft could bring in a new crop of quarterbacks who do the same, although Brees figures to have an even better grasp on future prospects since he will get a firsthand look at the college game after he signed a deal to join NBC Sports and broadcast Notre Dame games.

He will also contribute to Football Night in America, but Notre Dame's Sept. 18 game against his alma mater, Purdue, has already caught his attention.

"I've already made it very clear that I'm just going to call it like I see it," he said. "But Purdue does come to town to play Notre Dame in Notre Dame Stadium. I've already made it very clear that my blood bleeds Black and Gold during that weekend."

Between calling Notre Dame games, coaching his children and spending more time with his family, Brees said his first year of retirement is "gonna be a lot busier than I expected."

That's fitting because general managers are always busy, even if they are general managers for the Lowe's Home Team.

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