NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - After crushing the record for the most passing yards in NFL history, Drew Brees sent a special memento to 174 of his current and former teammates and coaches to thank them for their help throughout his career, according to ESPN.
Brees told ESPN reporters he wanted to “take care of those who took care of me,” so he gifted them with commemorative, custom-painted game balls to show his appreciation.
“I wanted to do something for everybody,” Brees told ESPN. “Obviously the emotions that came after that and just the reflections...You just start thinking about all the guys that had a hand in that.”
Those who received the gift also got a letter from Brees, explaining why he sent it.
“I want to personally thank you for everything you did to be a part of the record setting moment,” the letter reads, according to a photo former Saints full back Mike Karney posted on Twitter. “Without your contribution, this milestone would not have happened. Although they only put one name in the record book, I want you to know that I consider you to be important part of this record.”
According to ESPN, Brees was originally planning to send the balls to every receiver who ever caught a pass from him, but then realized that wasn’t enough. Along with Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, communications director Doug Miller and the Saints' media relations team, Brees tracked down every offensive linemen that had ever started a game, ESPN reported, but Brees still had more people to thank.
“Then I started thinking about coaches, then I started thinking about other people as well. So it was actually a long list. But I just wanted to do that for them," Brees told ESPN.
Saints tight end Benjamin Watson said the gifts were “surprising,” but not that surprising.
“Obviously this is his accomplishment, but him being the leader that he is, he loves to defer praise to other people," Watson said.
ESPN reported among the 174 recipients were James Andrews -- the doctor who performed Brees' 2006 shoulder surgery -- longtime coach Tom House and Saints' owner Gayle Benson.