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Brees stands tall even without Flutie

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Aug 5, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    <strong>August 5, 2005</strong>
    Source: <a href="http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005/08/05/sports/professional/chargers/21_38_478_4_05.txt">The North County Times</a>

    SAN DIEGO ---- Like someone reminiscing about a long-gone mutt, Drew Brees pines for one of his best friends, Doug Flutie.

    "That old salty dog, Flutie, we miss him,'' Brees said. "But we still have a few plays named after him in the system, so his legacy here will carry on.''

    Brees treks on as well. But for the first time since tracking Chargers receivers, he does so without Flutie.

    Like a ghost roaming Chargers Park, Flutie's presence is felt, however. Never mind he's on the opposite coast as the New England Patriots' backup quarterback.

    "In our quarterbacks meetings, someone will say something that Flutie would have said,'' Brees said. "It's as if he is still in the room.''

    There wasn't enough space in the starting lineup for Brees and Flutie when they arrived in 2001.

    Brees was the hotshot Purdue star, entering training camp as a second-round pick. The veteran Flutie shuffled in from Buffalo, a favorite of then-general manager John Butler and his assistant, current Chargers general manager A.J. Smith.

    Keeping up with the diminutive Flutie was initially too tall an order for Brees. Flutie won that camp battle but fell short the following three years.

    Brees took over in 2002, and save six starts, kept Flutie at bay.

    But on the sidelines, Flutie was always music to Brees' ear. Flutie's wise counsel didn't go unnoticed, or unappreciated, by a green NFL quarterback searching for his rhythm.

    "I learned a ton of stuff from him, especially those first two years,'' Brees said. "I was trying to watch his every move. He had encountered just about every situation that could be encountered on the football field.''

    Brees leaned on Flutie away from the field, too. Being an NFL quarterback guarantees soaring highs and devastating lows. Despite the degrees of success or failure, Brees always had Flutie, someone who treated him more like a son than a teammate.

    "He probably believed like he was a little bit of father figure to me,'' Brees said. "He was 15 years older than me, and that's close enough.

    "I would always go to him; we had that great of a friendship. He was the guy I would vent to on situations and vice versa. We were good listeners for each other. And when things weren't going well, we were real supportive of each other. And when things were going well, we knew how to have fun together. It was just a lot of fun him being around.''

    Their relationship was built in the wake of Flutie going round and round with his former Bills teammates.

    When Flutie dipped his toes in the Chargers' waters, he was thought of as a shark by some in Buffalo. Flutie's battles with fellow Bills quarterback Rob Johnson were the juicy fodder that filled many newspaper columns.

    But Brees' days with Flutie were jammed with joy, not jealously.

    "Doug handled everything the right way here,'' Brees stressed. "I don't know what happened in Buffalo and I didn't care what happened. It was just a totally different situation. All I know is we got along great.''

    Maybe because when Flutie peeked at Brees it was like eying a mirror.

    "He said that time to time that I reminded him of himself when he was younger, so maybe we have that in common,'' Brees said.

    Now Brees and Flutie don't share common uniforms. That's something Brees regrets.

    "Every time something came up, he would have a story about that situation,'' Brees said. "He has encountered just about every situation.''

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