In Week 2 versus the Giants, Drew Brees passed Dan Marino's mark of 61,361 passing yards to become third on the all-time list. Only Peyton Manning and Brett Favre remain ahead of Brees. Speaking with ThePostGame, Brees touched on this accomplishment, as well as post-football political ambitions, his opinion of Colin Kaepernick's ongoing protest and concerns he has about his own sons playing tackle football.
ThePostGame: Congratulations on passing Dan Marino and becoming the third leading passer all time. Are milestones like this still meaningful, being as decorated as you are?
DREW BREES: They definitely are. I have a deep appreciation for the guys who played before me and really paved the way for all of the current generations of football players. Especially when you talk about some of the former quarterbacks, guys like Dan Marino, these are guys I grew up watching and trying to emulate whenever I'd be in the backyard throwing the football around. Just to imagine that I would ever have the opportunity to not just play in the NFL, but be close to the numbers that some of these guys put it. It's humbling, it's an honor to get to play a long time in order to reach those milestones. Obviously, the goal each year is not to get those milestones but just to win football games and put yourself in a position to make the playoffs and make a run at it. But, if you play long enough and are able to stay healthy, and with all the great people I've been around throughout my career, those numbers add up, and when they add up to enough to surpass guys like Dan Marino, and others, that is definitely a great honor.
TPG: Did you know prior to the game how close you were to passing Marino?
BREES: Yeah, I had heard that I was 30 yards away, something like that. But, again, it's not something you're thinking about. Only thinking about playing ball.
TPG: You wear No. 9 to honor Ted Williams. Which football player did you admire and emulate growing up, both how they played the game on the field and carried themselves off it?
BREES: I always loved Joe Montana. I grew up in Texas during that early 90s Cowboys heyday, winning three out of four Super Bowls. I loved waking up early on Sunday mornings, going to church, then sitting down and watching the Cowboys game. Guys like Troy Aikman, that whole crew. There are plenty of other quarterbacks I admired watching, and then getting a chance to play with them and against them was pretty cool. A guy like Doug Flutie -- he was one of my favorite players to watch growing up -- kind of the undersized guy, an underdog, a chip on his shoulder. I loved the way he competed. Still, to this day, I feel like he was one of the best quarterbacks to play the game, and at a bunch of different levels. He played one year in the USFL, a couple of years in the NFL, CFL, then back in the NFL. I had a chance to play with him for four years in San Diego. I learned so much from him. He is still a great friend of mine. Those were my guys growing up.
TPG: Regarding Colin Kaepernick, you told ESPN that you disagree wholeheartedly, not about him speaking out on an important issue, but with the manner in which he did so. Do you think political protests from professional athletes can be effective in driving change?
BREES: I do. I do think they can be effective because obviously there are a lot of eyes and attention on professional athletes. I think you can look at lots of different instances where professional athletes spoke out and had the platform to do so. At the end of the day, it is about bringing attention to whatever you're trying to speak out for, or against. Again, I agree with Colin Kaepernick's message, I just do not agree with his method. We all should pay the ultimate amount of respect to the flag of the United States of America and the national anthem for everything that it has stood for. Listen, if you went to every American, there are plenty of things all of us disagree with in regards to our country, both things that have happened in the past and currently. But I still think that is the one unifying thing for us as Americans, that we can all stand up and show respect to our flag for all the great things it represents and symbolizes about our country.
TPG: Being born and raised in Texas and becoming an icon and role model in Louisiana, both states with historic African-American heritage, can you give a unique insight into race relations within America and the role football can play in building bridges?
BREES: Listen, I think you could say this for sports in general, but certainly football, it does not matter what race, color, creed, religion you are, when you come into the locker room, it's about everyone coming together for the singular goal of making each other better, holding one another accountable and being the best as a team. There are guys from all different types of backgrounds. It is amazing how you can bring all those different races, personalities, backgrounds together, and through the blood, sweat, and tears of competition, you become a brotherhood that cannot be broken. That is the amazing thing about our sport. Also, inspiring people that might not be on your team but those watching who have such a vested interest in what you are trying to do. The bond between the New Orleans Saints and the city of New Orleans over the last ten years -- that relationship and bond I think is unlike any other in sports. Going back to Hurricane Katrina, the rebuilding efforts built such a bond between the team and this city.
TPG: You said last November that you "pay more attention to [politics] now" than ever before? Are you still following the election so closely?
BREES: Unfortunately, I have not been able to do that a whole lot. It seems like it is kind of a mess, to be honest with you. There are obviously a lot of issues at hand here, and I don't know if either side is pleased with the way any of this is going. Regardless, it is a tough time.
TPG: You've expressed an interest in potentially running for government office after your playing days are over. Has the turmoil of this presidential election made you more or less likely to pursue a political career after football?
BREES: I might want to do that. At the end of the day, it is about service, and then it's about serving your community and trying to make it a better place. In local politics, you seem to be able to really make a big difference. That is the issue with national politics. It is too conducive to compromising your true morals and values to appease others. That compromise really turns me off actually. On the local side, people have an opportunity to make a big difference. I'm not ruling anything out.
TPG: If you were to run for mayor: New Orleans, San Diego or Austin?
BREES: Probably New Orleans. I have strong connections to all those places; Austin is my hometown, I played in San Diego five years and still have a home there, and obviously New Orleans has been home for the last 11 years.
TPG: You have three sons. Will any of them play tackle football?
BREES: Oh yeah, if they want to. I think there is an appropriate age to start, probably middle school. My oldest son plays flag football right now. The middle one will probably start this year. They love it. They are all about the Saints and the game-day atmosphere. I actually got to coach my son's flag football team last spring, which was a thrill. Whatever sport they choose, I want to coach.
TPG: Do you have any concerns about CTE when you consider letting your kids play football versus encouraging them to focus on other sports?
BREES: I think there is a brain development process that needs to take place for a child before you put the helmet on him. I think middle school is an appropriate age, so if they want to play tackle football they can. We know so much more now, and certainly, we will in five or six years when my oldest gets to that age. If there is even the slightest possibility of a head injury or concussion, getting dinged or seeing stars, really any type of head or neck injury, the appropriate protocol must be put into place immediately. You must sit out an appropriate amount of time in order to heal before you ever go back in to play. So much of the cause of these issues former players are having with head and neck injuries is the fact that they just kept playing, kept playing, kept playing because nobody knew any better. I think now, we do know a lot more, so we can have the necessary protocols in place to make sure the guys are healing properly.
Brees spoke to ThePostGame on behalf of Tempur-Pedic, which according to the quarterback "is the greatest bed there is, without question." Brees bought his entire offensive line Tempur-Pedic beds after last season.
Follow Jack Minton on Twitter @jackminton95.