Who Is Drew Brees?
American football player Drew Brees began his career as a quarterback at Westlake High School, he later enrolled at Purdue University and led the Boilermakers to a Big Ten Championship and a Rose Bowl appearance. Drafted by the NFL's San Diego Chargers in 2001, Brees earned the first of numerous Pro Bowl selections in 2004, before moving on to the New Orleans Saints in 2006. He led the Saints to victory in Super Bowl XLIV in 2009, and went on to shatter league records for completions, passing yards and touchdowns.
Early Life and Education
Born on January 15, 1979, in Austin, Texas, Andrew Christopher Brees, better known as Drew Brees, hails from football stock. His maternal grandfather, Ray Akins, is one of the all-time great coaches in Texas high school football history, while his uncle, Marty Akins, was an All-Southwest Conference quarterback in 1975.
At Westlake High School in Austin, Brees lettered in both basketball and baseball, but he truly excelled on the football field. During his senior season in the fall of 1996, he led the club to a perfect regular-season record and a state championship.
The following year, Brees enrolled at Purdue University, where he continued to shine as a quarterback. During the course of his four-year career, Brees, a two-time Heisman finalist, steered the Boilermakers to a Big Ten Championship as well as a trip to the Rose Bowl.
San Diego Chargers
Despite his stellar college resume, Brees' relatively diminutive stature (he's listed at 6 feet) and perceived mediocre arm strength greatly contributed to him slipping out of the first round of the 2001 NFL draft. He wound up with the San Diego Chargers as the first pick of the second round.
As a Charger, Brees proved himself to be one of the game's better quarterbacks. After stepping in as the team's full-time starter in the 2002 season, Brees led a young San Diego team to the playoffs in 2004, resulting in his first Pro Bowl selection.
New Orleans Saints
Following the 2005 season, Brees left the Chargers as an unrestricted free agent and signed with the New Orleans Saints, inking a six-year, $60 million deal. For a city and a fan base still reeling from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, Brees was lauded for his decision.
Brees hasn't disappointed New Orleans fans. He set an NFL record with 5,476 passing yards in 2011 (since broken), also topping the league that year with a career-best 46 touchdowns. And despite his reputation as a "gunslinger," he continued to complete an unusually high percentage of his pass attempts.
More importantly, he made the Saints a winning team. In 2009, he led the franchise to victory in Super Bowl XLIV, earning the game's MVP honors along the way.
Brees remained among the best at his position for the next decade. In 2018, at the age of 39, he surpassed the NFL career records for completions (set by Brett Favre) and passing yards (set by Peyton Manning). That year he also completed a personal-best 74.4 percent of his throws and earned a 12th Pro Bowl selection, though the season ended in disappointment with a controversial loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game.
Along with his passing skills, Brees proved his durability by appearing in at least 15 of 16 regular-season games in every year from 2004 to 2018. That streak came to an end when he sustained ligament damage in his thumb early in the 2019 season, but he showed no signs of rust after returning in late October, compiling 373 yards and three touchdowns in a blowout win over the Arizona Cardinals.
In December, Brees set another NFL record by toppling Manning's career total of 539 passing touchdowns.
Family and Philanthropy
Brees married his college girlfriend, Brittany Dudchenko, in 2003. They have four children together.
The star quarterback has made valuable contributions to the New Orleans community and elsewhere. Shortly after arriving in the city, he and Brittany founded The Brees Dream Foundation, with the aim of fighting cancer and helping children in need. Since its establishment, the nonprofit foundation has raised more than $30 million for its work.
In March 2020, Brees and Brittany announced plans to donate $5 million to charities to help feed Louisiana families during the coronavirus pandemic.
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