New Orleans, La - Long before Drew Brees was lighting up the Superdome scoreboard and setting records in Black and Gold, he was a San Diego Charger, something he thought he'd always be.
That all changed in 2004 when the Chargers drafted Philip Rivers with the fourth overall pick in the draft, signaling the inevitable departure of Drew Brees. He would play two more seasons with the Bolts before his well documented free agency. During those years, he and Rivers developed a working respect for each other.
"It's interesting because when he got drafted with the fourth pick...[the Chargers] were drafting him to be the quarterback of the future, to take my job...so I think people wanted us to be at odds, they wanted us to be adversaries, they wanted this to be a contentious relationship and it wasn't," said Brees.
The situation certainly worked out for Brees who has become an icon in the city of New Orleans, in addition to a Super Bowl winner and owner of the richest contract in football. Rivers has been in the upper echelon of quarterbacks for most of his seven year career and still keeps in touch with Brees throughout the year. Brees says they shared a common bond during their time in San Diego because of the way they prepared for the game and for their view of the big picture.
"It didn't need to be hostile and so I'd say our personalities are similar in that way and that's why we got along and continue to get along," said Brees.
Rivers has nothing but respect for Brees and teammate Darren Sproles, also a former Charger.
"I know just from the few guys that were on this team a few years ago and they've got other players I'm sure that share the same mentality," said Brees. "It's a tough, resilient group. There's not going to be any quit or doubt in any of their minds so we're going to have be at our best to win on Sunday."
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