With new record comes emo­tion

Saints QB Brees is now the all-time NFL leader in pass­ing yards

The Progress-Index - - SPORTS - By Brett Mar­tel

NEW OR­LEANS — Drew Brees used one hand to hold his hel­met and the other to wipe away tears.

It was the first time the 39-year-old Brees had ever walked off of a foot­ball field know­ing that he had thrown for more yards than any quar­ter­back in the

his­tory of the NFL. And the Saints quar­ter­back couldn't help but be over­whelmed by thoughts of all the work and peo­ple who helped him get to such an es­teemed point.

"I broke down and cried a bunch of times this week, just think­ing about so many things," Brees said af­ter his lat­est NFL-record­set­ting per­for­mance in a 43-19 vic­tory over the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins on Mon­day night. "I think about all the peo­ple who have in­flu­enced my life in such a pow­er­ful way, and there were so many of those peo­ple that were here tonight, that wit­nessed this, so many peo­ple that I spoke to this week that are a part of this, and so many other still that I have yet to have a chance to reach out to.

"Two of the peo­ple who had big­gest in­flu­ence on my foot­ball ca­reer cer­tainly and on who I am, grow­ing up, are my mom and my grand­fa­ther and they're in heaven. They're no longer here, but I know that they would be proud," Brees added.

The 6-foot Brees was lightly re­cruited out of high school in Austin, Texas, con­sid­ered un­der­sized for a quar­ter­back at the ma­jor col­lege and pro lev­els. He led Pur­due to the Rose Bowl and was a Heis­man Tro­phy fi­nal­ist, but no NFL team picked him in the first round of the 2001 draft. Brees' first team, the Charg­ers, dis­carded him af­ter a shoul­der in­jury in 2005, set­ting the stage for his ar­rival in New Or­leans and his emer­gence as one of the most pro­lific quar­ter­backs ever.

His lat­est out­ing would have been mem­o­rable even if no records were in play. He com­pleted 26 of 29 passes for 363 yards and three TDs. His se­cond touch­down was a 62-yarder to rookie Tre'Quan Smith that put Brees ahead of Pey­ton Man­ning's pre­vi­ous all­time mark of 71,940 yards.

Mo­ments af­ter that touch­down, the NFL halted the game for about three min­utes so the ball could be handed over to Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame of­fi­cials. Brees was able to em­brace his fam­ily and coach Sean Pay­ton on the side­line.

"It's a beau­ti­ful thing, a beau­ti­ful ex­pe­ri­ence for all of us," said Saint left tackle Ter­ron Arm­stead, the first team­mate to hug Brees af­ter the record­set­ting com­ple­tion to Smith. "The en­ergy in the sta­dium at that time, I thought he was go­ing to cry, re­ally. He's a tough dude, he prob­a­bly didn't want to show that side. But it was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence."

[BILL FEIG/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS]

New Or­leans Saints quar­ter­back Drew Brees (9) greets his fam­ily af­ter he broke the NFL all-time pass­ing yards record on Mon­day in the first half of a game against the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins in New Or­leans.

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