Drew Brees: The first thing I'd like to say is that when I came on a visit here a few days ago, we went out to eat at Emeril's and Emeril wrote me a note that when I became a New Orleans Saints, he'd cook me my first meal here, so Emeril, if you're watching and listening, I'll be expecting pretty soon, but in all sincerity, I'm truly excited about being here. I think that this is a wonderful opportunity. I think with this organization, with a general manager like Mickey Loomis and a head coach like Sean Payton, that obviously the staff that has been assembled here and obviously the players that we have and the players that we will continue to add to this, just the type of people that we have in this organization, I think we got a tremendous opportunity to win and to win very quickly and I know that this town is craving a winner and we're going to get one. I am extremely excited and I'll answer any questions that you have right now.
Can you discuss your decision making process for coming to New Orleans?
Drew Brees: Sure, obviously we all knew it was between the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins. I took trips to both places, because I wanted to make sure I knew everything I needed to know before I made this decision and it was a tough decision. Both organizations are very prideful ones and have a great group of people around him. What it really came down to me is obviously I felt like with the staff and the type of players we have, the type of people we have, I felt that we had the opportunity to do something special, but the feeling that I got when we came here, the sincere feeling that these guys really wanted me here and they really had confidence in me and obviously the issues with my surgery and everything else. I just feel like they had as much confidence in me as I had in myself and that really meant a lot to me and that made me feel like I belong here.
Can you discuss when you expect to be able to start throwing?
Drew Brees: Pretty soon, we're looking at throwing in mid to late April and obviously that's a process, a few months of a throwing program. It could be as soon as doing things in May and June. We'll just kind of have to take that one step at a time. Definitely by training camp, I'll be out there and getting ready to have a great season.
Sean, what made Drew your guy right out of the gate?
Sean Payton: I think when you look at this position, some of the characteristics in our league at this position, at the college level at this position or at the high school level at this position haven't changed over time and he's a guy when you really research the player out of high school. He was 16-0. He made a big impact at Purdue when he arrived there with coach (Joe) Tiller. The same impact was made when he arrived at San Diego. Those weren't by accident. Those are things...that track record at this position is I think critical in the evaluation process. He's a player that makes great decisions. He's a high character person. He's everything you look for at the quarterback position and when you evaluate and evaluate the position over a long period of time, there's some common denominators the quarterback has, especially denominators in guys that have won in this league and so if you can identify those specific tangible things and grade the player accordingly, I think your chances of being successful go up immensely and we certainly feel that way with Drew.
Sean, does this move display pressure for you to win immediately?
Sean Payton: No. I think we're in a win-now business. That hasn't changed and it won't change. When you're looking at your team and you're identifying areas that you think you can improve and a player such as Drew becomes available, I looked at it as really more of an opportunity for us. We were excited. We were excited that we had an opportunity to bring him and his wife Brittany into town and put our best foot forward. We felt like with a player of his magnitude, it's going to help us. Certainly the transition's quicker than it would be for a rookie quarterback. I felt that there were a lot of things that fell into place here and we're fortunate and excited and looking forward to this relationship. We got a lot of work to do. He's one part of the puzzle and we look forward to doing that.
Mickey, did you not think Drew was going to be available until a few weeks ago?
Mickey Loomis: Obviously we know who are going to become unrestricted free agents. We knew that Drew had a chance to become an unrestricted free agent. We were just fortunate that San Diego didn't work out. It's as simple as that. We look at everyone that's going to become a UFA initially. Obviously a lot of those guys do get re-signed. In this case, that didn't happen.
Drew, how long does it take for a quarterback to really know what's going on in this league?
Drew Brees: For me it took a few years, I think for most guys it does take a little bit of time, just because the game is so different. Obviously the pace of the game and speed of the game and just adjusting to all those elements. It becomes a longer season as well, so really kind of conditioning your body and your mind to go through a season in itself is just something you have to kind of adjust to. I think if you look around the league at just about every quarterback, they've had a learning curve to go through before they kind of hit their peak or are successful.
Drew Brees: Yes, I know that there's a lot of guys that have been on this team for a long time that are pillars in this community and they've been obviously great representatives of this organization and that's where I'm excited to be on the same team as those guys because they're great players as well. I guess that kind of comes with it when you're the quarterback of a football team, obviously the expectations and everything else. I'm just going to be myself. I think everything's going to work out fine.
When did you make the final decision to come to New Orleans?
Drew Brees: It was yesterday morning. I was in the middle of my rehab. I got a phone call from Tom (Condon), my agent. We just kind of talked everything out and said, call up Mickey (Loomis) and let's get it done. I want to be a Saint.
Due to your competitive nature, do you look at your injury as more of a challenge than a setback?
Drew Brees: Yes, I had a teammate tell me one time a setback is nothing but a setup for a comeback.
From an individual standpoint, what do you consider your strongest asset?
Drew Brees: I feel like through my experience now, this will be my sixth year in the NFL, I feel like my strength would be leadership on the field, composure and I feel like the biggest challenge now is obviously a new team, learning new personalities, learning a new offense, obviously getting my shoulder back. I got a lot of responsibilities and a lot of things I'm going to be working on very hard in this off-season, so that's a challenge in itself."