FOXBORO (CBS) –In the middle of a joint practice between the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints, a bit of a mutual admiration society was growing strong between the two men wearing red jerseys.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees, the man who set the single-season passing record last year with 5,476 yards, and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who finished just behind Brees last year with 5,235 yards, hung out and chatted on the field long after practice was finished. The friendly conversation was not the first between Brees and Brady, who crossed paths back when Brees was at Purdue and Brady was at Michigan, and it didn’t come before Brees gushed about his counterpart in New England.
“I’ve got a great relationship with Tom,” Brees told reporters on the Gillette Stadium practice field. “I think a lot of him, not only professionally but personally. Certainly he’s one of the best, if not the best of all time.
“To get a chance to see the way he works and operates up close and personal, that’s a joy for me,” Brees added.
Statistically, Brees has the edge over Brady in career completion percentage and passing yards, while Brady’s thrown 19 more touchdowns and 31 fewer interceptions while of course winning three Super Bowls compared to Brees’ one. While Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in the game today, he said there’s plenty he can learn from watching Brady up close at practice.
“He’s got great command of the offense and of the huddle. His demeanor is always very calm, cool, in control,” Brees said. “Just to watch [Brady and the receivers’] rapport and their offense the way they run it, situations, the way he handles all that. There’s a reason he’s one of the best.
And while the 6-foot Brees admitted he might not resemble the 6-foot-4 Brady too much on the outside, he certainly feels they’re comparable on the inside.
“I think we both have the same motivation, we both have the same competitive drive,” Brees said of Brady. “If you stood the two of us next to each other you probably wouldn’t say there’s many similarities. But I think the heart and the desire and the competitiveness and the love of the game … I certainly have that within me as well.”