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Drew Brees: Johnny Manziel can ‘absolutely’ be a starting quarterback in NFL

Johnny ManzielNew Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees knows plenty about having the odds stacked against him. Despite standing at just 6-feet tall, Brees is one of the best passers in the NFL. Other Elite quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are nearly six inches taller than Brees, but the former Purdue star lights up the scoreboard just the same.

In that sense, Johnny Manziel and Brees have something in common. Manziel is 6-foot-1 and many scouts have questioned whether or not he can become an effective quarterback at the next level. During an interview with FOXSports.com on Wednesday, Brees was asked if he believes Manziel can be a starter in the NFL.

“Yeah, absolutely,” Brees said. “It’s hard for a young quarterback to come in this league and have success immediately. That’s more the exception than the rule. What those three rookie quarterbacks were able to accomplish last season — [Robert Griffin III], Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson — was pretty phenomenal. That’s not easy to do at all.”

Most people felt Brees was too small and would have too many passes batted down because of it. Nearly 50,000 career passing yards, 349 touchdowns and a Super Bowl MVP award later, and Brees has silenced each and every one of his critics. The 34-year-old believes Manziel can do the same because of his playmaking ability.

“He is a heck of a player,” Brees said. “He’s fun to watch. He makes all kinds of plays. He’s got all the playmaking ability to be a great player. [There are] guys like [Manziel] in this league. Russell Wilson and his ability to run the football and extend plays outside the pocket and throw the ball down the field. Intermediate [routes], I mean he can do it all.”

Manziel has a legitimate shot at winning another Heisman Trophy this season, as he has proven he can make elite throws in addition to scrambling. However, question marks surrounding his NFL potential have as much — or more — to do with his maturity level as they do his physical makeup. Brees alluded to that.

“You have to instill confidence in the guy’s you’re playing with so they’ll follow you and play for you so you can get the best out of them,” he said. “It’s all about leadership.”

It’s the extracurricular stuff that makes Manziel “undraftable” to some NFL teams. It’s also that stuff that could make him a steal in April if he can overcome his physical limits the way Brees did.

Drew Brees clears up tip controversy

Drew-Brees-tip-receipt

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees should not have to take time out of his busy training camp schedule to explain how he spends his money, but he obviously cares about his image. Earlier this week, gossip site The Dirty posted the photo you see above above of a dinner receipt that allegedly belonged to Brees. As you can see, he left a $3.00 tip on a $74.41 bill.

Of course, no one attempted to get the entire story. Have you ever called in an order for a bunch of pizzas or something and gone and picked them up yourself? For those who are unfamiliar with that concept, it’s called takeout. And since you don’t really have a server for a takeout order, there’s generally no need to tip anywhere close to 20%.

In fact, most people don’t tip at all when ordering takeout. What Brees tips is really nobody’s business, but you can understand why he wanted to clarify. The picture of the receipt without context made him look like an a-hole (or “cheap bastard” as The Dirty phrased it), and we know how much the internet loves when millionaires don’t tip well. Now, back to football.

Vicks alters Drew Brees ad so his birthmark is on the wrong cheek (Picture)

Is the birthmark Drew Brees has on his face similar to Cindy Crawford’s mole? Anyone who is familiar with Brees and has seen him without a helmet on knows he has a birthmark on one of his cheeks. Those of you who have a photographic memory may remember that the birthmark is on Brees’ right cheek. If you go by the Vicks advertisement above that a Twitter user shared on Monday, the Saints quarterback has one on each cheek.

The image on the left is correct. The image on the right shows a birthmark on Brees’ left cheek that doesn’t actually exist. Photos are airbrushed all the time for advertising purposes, but why did Vicks feel the need to give Brees an extra birthmark?

The only thing I can think of is that the creators of the ad feel as though Brees’ birthmark is a strong identifier for him. Perhaps seeing a birthmark — regardless of which cheek it is on — reassures our subconscience that the man in the picture is in fact the Super Bowl MVP and future Hall of Famer. Or perhaps our man Danny Lee was right when he wrote that sports advertising has simply gone too far.

Chest bump to Shutdown Corner

Drew Brees responds to Terry Bradshaw, defends ‘historic night’

Former Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw was critical of the way Drew Brees and the Saints celebrated last weekend, and now Brees has responded.

The current FOX NFL Sunday analyst said on WFAN that he wasn’t impressed with Brees setting a record by throwing for at least one touchdown pass in 48 straight games. He also was upset with the NFL for allowing Sean Payton and the other suspended Saints personnel to attend the game.

Brees responded during an interview on NFL Network’s “NFL AM” on Thursday.

“I haven’t heard his comments directly,” Brees said, “but there’s no person who’s a bigger part of that record than Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, Joe Vitt — all the coaches on suspension right now. I felt it was very appropriate for them to be there because they are as big a part of that as anybody, and it really made for a special night, a historic night. I was really glad they could be a part of it.”

Unlike Bradshaw and LBS writer Steve DelVecchio, I do think it was a big night. Though wins are important, I don’t think the significance of achieving historic records that can stand for years should be minimized. Brees was celebrated by the city and sent special gifts after breaking the record, and I don’t have a problem with that. But the one area that I agree with Bradshaw on is the NFL allowing the suspended personnel to attend the game. Why should they have been rewarded while they were on suspension?

Photo credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Terry Bradshaw rips Drew Brees: ‘I’m not into records, I’m into winning Super Bowls’

Sunday night was a special night for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints for a number of reasons. After struggling for four games, New Orleans picked up its first win of the season vs. the San Diego Chargers. While that was the most important part of the evening, the win was slightly overshadowed when Brees broke Johnny Unitas’ 52-year-old record by throwing a touchdown pass in his 48th straight game. That overshadowing was a problem for FOX NFL Sunday’s Terry Bradshaw.

During a recent interview with WFAN’s Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno, Bradshaw ripped Brees for the way he went about breaking the record.

“(The record) didn’t blow me away,” Bradshaw said. “I’m not much on that stuff … I’m not into records, fellas. I’m just into winning football games. (The Saints) hadn’t won a game … I’m not into records, I’m into winning Super Bowls … These things aren’t important. We lose sight of why we play. We play to win and to win championships, not to break records.”

Tough not to agree with Bradshaw on that. While the record was certainly impressive and something to be proud of, it was bizarre that they celebrated it so emphatically with the Saints having been off to such a horrendous start. Bradshaw seemed most annoyed by the fact that Brees asked the NFL for permission to have suspended head coach Sean Payton in attendance.

“I was a little upset that he went to the NFL to get Payton and everybody back to watch him break a record,” Bradshaw said. “I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I never would have gone and asked for them back … I thought it was disrespectful to the San Diego Chargers … So break it, go ahead. Hell, you’re throwing it 50 times a game … I’m just against stuff like that. I just don’t believe in doing stuff like that.”

Obviously, Bradshaw is a bit more old-school than most. Like the time he ripped the NFL earlier this year, I tend to think Terry has a point. During Sunday night’s game I thought it was a bit awkward that the Saints were so happy about something that happened during a season in which they have drastically underacheived. If they were 4-0 or even 2-2, the celebrating would have seemed a bit more appropriate.

Photo credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Drew Brees compares Saints bounty evidence to weapons of mass destruction

Comparing world affairs to professional sports is never a good idea. Football is a huge part of many of our lives, which can make it easy to get carried away when discussing issues involving the game. Drew Brees gave us an example of that on Monday night.

On Monday morning, the NFLPA made the evidence against the Saints from the bounty scandal public. While the ledger that supposedly details the bounty payments was not revealed, some other disturbing documents were. Apparently Brees thought it was all nothing, and he expressed himself with a pretty dumb comment on his Twitter account.

Not smart. Brees, of course, is referencing how the Bush Administration eventually convinced enough people that Saddam Hussein was holding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. To this day, there is still no sign of those WMDs Bush insisted were an immediate threat to other nations. Now do you see the connection between an NFL scandal and one of the most signifcant foreign relations nightmares in our nation’s history? Yeah, neither do I.

Whether Brees feels that the bounty evidence is bogus or not, his decision to compare it to weapons of mass destruction is regrettable. Football is a game. Wartime is not.

UPDATE: Brees clarified his analogy and apologized for it.

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Saints fan Tony Le Mon starts website asking for donations to pay Drew Brees

When the all-too-common argument of athletes being overpaid arises, I tend to always side with the athlete. While $20 million a year seems like an astronomical amount of money to pay someone for playing a game, it is the basic concept of supply-and-demand at work. The money comes from somewhere, and if the people shelling it out didn’t think they were going to get a return on their investment they wouldn’t be investing. That being said, the website that a Saints fan has started to rally fans to donate money to help Drew Brees is extremely disturbing.

As Around the League shared with us, the website FansStepUp.com was launched on Tuesday by a Saints season ticket holder. Through the use of PayPal or a local Chase Bank branch, founder Tony Le Mon is asking fans to contribute to the Drew Brees Fans Step Up Account. Whether you donate $1 or $100, Le Mon insists every little bit helps and will go directly to Brees to help keep him in New Orleans.

“We can send a clear message to Drew Brees that we appreciate what he has done for us,” Le Mon wrote. “We can send a clear message to Drew Brees that we want him to stay here. At the same time, we can let other cities in this country know that we are the best fans anywhere and that we take care of our own. We as fans can become empowered with the creation of this BONUS. We need not sit idly by while a New Orleans treasure is taken away from us.”

If Brees rejects the donation, the funds will supposedly go to his charity, the Brees Dream Foundation. If you have money to spare, that’s the way you should be thinking anyway. The Brees contract situation has gotten ugly and it would be a tragedy to see him sit out the year or miss games, but it’s strictly business. Fans don’t need to get involved by donating money to a professional athlete when they could be giving it to a charity in need. Naturally, Brees would never keep the money for himself. But that doesn’t make the goal of the website any less troubling.