WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees spent the team’s bye week on a football field.
The former Purdue quarterback returned to West Lafayette on Saturday for Purdue’s home game against No. 7 Wisconsin.
Brees took pictures, signed autographs, and even spent halftime throwing footballs to fans.
Saturday marked Brees’ first visit back to Ross-Ade Stadium in two years. While it’s been over 15 years since the Brees graduated from Purdue, the Super Bowl MVP hasn’t forgotten the importance the school has played in his life.
“Purdue University means so much to me,” he said. “It’s crazy as I reflect on how I arrived at Purdue. I didn’t really know anything about Purdue. I didn’t know where Purdue was located. I thought Purdue was an Ivy League school, which speaks a lot to its academic reputation. I felt like I came here in 1997 as part of Joe Tiller’s first recruiting class and established something really special here. I feel like the best of the Purdue football program has yet to come. I feel like that’s coming in the near future.”
Purdue is currently searching for a head coach. Brees feels the program needs to hire an individual with a successful track record.
“First and foremost, you want somebody that is proven,” he said. “You want somebody that you know can come in here and turn this program around and build the foundation for something that can sustain itself for a long time and be at a high level here in the Big Ten, which is a very competitive conference. The second thing is recruiting. What type of guys are we recruiting? We need to be recruiting character, intelligence and toughness. Bottom line — talent doesn’t win for you. Character, intelligence and toughness wins and that’s how you want to build your program.”
Brees and the Saints are currently 4-6 this season. But the 37-year-old Brees appears to be getting better with age. Brees leads the NFL in passing yards and passing touchdowns.
“I’m blessed to be able to play this game,” he said. “I’m going to try and play it as long as I can. If I’m having fun, playing at a high level and able to stay healthy, why not? My kids have reached an age where they’re beginning to get it so that just makes it even more fun.”
Brees’ alma mater fell to the Badgers 49-20. The Boilermakers have dropped six straight games and are now 3-8 on the season. The team concludes the regular season against rival Indiana in Bloomington next Saturday. The Boilermakers haven’t won the Old Oaken Bucket Game since 2012.