It was (Saints LB) Jon (Vilma)s idea. Initially, it was just going to be Jon, but the fact that all the Pro Bowl guys were at the hotel anyways, and then we were planning on being out there to greet the team as they came in, he asked us if wed join in. We were happy to do it.
(on if the Pro Bowlers took ice bags to the Saints hotel rooms)
It didnt go that far. It was really just the appearance of us kind of standing on the curb, waiting ready to serve.
(on how the Super Bowl changes if Colts DE Dwight Freeney does not play due to injury)
They still will do a lot of the same things. Obviously, he is a tremendous player and one of the best, if not the best pass rusher in this league, as is the guy on the other side, (Colts DE Robert) Mathis. Really, I think their style is one that they have played for a long time. Theyre getting a little bit more pressure now than they have in the past, but still its very much the same philosophy of were going to get after you with our front four, were going to make you throw it underneath, were not going to give up big plays (and) were going to do a great job of rallying and tackling. Every guy on that defense is a good tackler. They know how to strip and get the ball out.
(on avoiding making assumptions about Freeneys status based on the Colts injury report)
The fact is its the Super Bowl. I know any player would do as much as they could to get on that field. Obviously, hes a competitor and a guy who Were expecting him to play. If he doesnt, he doesnt. Certainly, I feel like theyre coming into this game with all of their ammo.
(on comparing the Super Bowl hype to that of the Saints Week 12 game against the New England Patriots)
I would draw the similarity from the type of organization we were playing then and the type of organization were playing now. One (similarity) is it is really a model organization. The Colts have won 12 or more games in the last seven seasons and won a Super Bowl just a few years ago. They are a perennial playoff contender, a championship contender that has a great quarterback, head coach, management and a bunch of very talented playersguys that they know how to win. They know what it takes to win, and they play disciplined football. Anytime you go up against an organization like that, a team like that, you just understand that your mistakes all of the sudden get magnified. You need to be that much more disciplined with what youre doing, and execution becomes critical.
(on his relationship with Saints QB Mark Brunell)
Mark has been awesome. Mark Brunell has been tremendous for me as a mentor (and) as a guy who has played a lot of football at a very high level. Youre talking about a guy who has been to three Pro Bowls (and) led those teams in Jacksonville to two AFC Championship games. Hes played in a ton of big games, big atmospheres. Hes a true professional. There are certainly a lot of things I have been able to gain from him over the last few years.
(on competing against Colts QB Peyton Manning)
Thats exactly the trap that Im not going to fall into, which is trying to keep up with Petyon. I know that Peyton is going to make his plays, and he is going to be Peyton. That just means that I need to be me. Certainly, this is a game that very well could be back and forth or one team could get out to a lead and then all of the sudden the other team closes the gap. I think weve both shown the ability to come back from big deficits. The game is always within reach no matter what the situation. Its me and my offense against their defense and vice versa. Certainly, I have a lot of respect for Peyton and what he has been able to accomplish and what their team has been able to accomplish, but its not me against Petyon Manning.
(on this Super Bowls impact on New Orleans considering the effects of Hurricane Katrina)
(It is important for) not only the people in New Orleans, but I think the people around the country because you do understand how much it means to that community and what theyve been through. Our success as a team over the last four years, but especially this year, has been tremendous just in regards to giving so many of the members of that community hope and lifting their spirits. There is still a lot of work to be done there in regards to the rebuilding and the recovery post-Katrina. There are still a lot of people in some pretty dire straits. For us to be able to have the success were having, it just does so much for that community as far as bringing everyone together. Theres a bond that we have with our fansbetween our organization and our fansthats truly special. This has been, obviously, a storybook season for all of usa 13-0 start (and) a lot of firsts. (It was) our first time to host an NFC Championship game (and the) first Super Bowl appearance in the 42-year history of the organization, so we have a lot to play for. We dont look at it as extra pressure. We look at it as a sense of responsibility, and we really gain strength from our fans from the Who Dat? nation (and) from the people of New Orleans, just knowing that their spirit is with us.
(on the rainy weather affecting the Saints Monday itinerary)
It is what it is. Weather the storm. We know how to do that. This (walk-through) is something that we wanted to do today. We got here early for a reason. Our team jumped right on the buses to the practice field. We got a good sweat in (and) got a good workout in. I think it has just really set the tone for us and our mindset for this week. Its all business.
(on Vilmas idea to dress as bellhops helping the Saints keep their usual mentality)
You could very easily get to this week and all of the sudden want to put too much pressure on yourself and feel the pressure and the hype of the media and all that stuff. I think thats one of Jons great strengths is his ability to constantly have a finger on the pulse of the team and know when its time to work and when its time to joke and have a good time. Obviously, when the guys pulled up, he thought that would be a good way to welcome everybody in, and it was.
(on being in the Dolphins practice facility after considering signing with Miami as a free agent in 2006)
Its kind of interesting, I guess. The (Dolphins practice) bubble wasnt built yet, but it was under construction, so its not like I set foot in there. Just kind of walking around the facility and the weight room, obviously, to get in here brought back the memories of that free-agency period back in 2006, which was really a defining moment in my career and probably my life just the way that things worked out. Obviously, Im where I belong.
(on serving as a leader in the New Orleans community)
I know that I have been blessed with a lot of opportunities in my lifethe opportunity to go to a great university, Purdue University, play in the Big Ten, the opportunity I had out in San Diego and the opportunity Ive had here in New Orleans. (I have had) so many great coaches and mentors around me. I just feel like its a big responsibility for me. I feel like Ive been given a platform to really make a difference in a lot of peoples lives, especially those who are less fortunate and those who might not have the opportunities otherwise. Ive embraced the community of New Orleans just because it is a special place, and theyve embraced me and my wife in a way that I cant even describe. There is nothing more that I want for them than a championship.
(on attempting passes to the back shoulder of his receivers)
Its a simple philosophy. Its throw it to our guy away from their guy. Just because your guy is running right next to one of their guys doesnt mean that there isnt a place where you can throw that ball where only your guy can get it. Thats the point of the back-shoulder throw or any throw where Maybe it looks like a really low throw or a really high throw, but youre taking your receiver and kind of using it to their strengths where you can throw that ball, where you know they can get it and nobody else can.
(on his rapport with his receivers)
That takes time. Thats chemistry. Thats working at it. (Saints WR) Marques Colston and I have had four years together, and (Ive had) the same with (Saints WR) Devery Henderson. (Saints WR) Lance Moore is in his third year. All of these guys, even (Saints TE Jeremy) Shockey, the difference from last year to this year (There are) so many guys where you just build that rapport over time.
(on the Saints offensive personnel)
We have an arsenal. We have a lot of guys who can do a lot of great things, great athletes. What we try to do within our offense is put everybody in position to succeed according to their strengths.
(on if former Dolphins Head Coach Nick Saban contacted him at 12:01 a.m. on the first morning of free agency in 2006)
He probably called me before that (laughter). The fact of the matter is I went to New Orleans and I came to Miami as free-agent possibilities. I had great visits at both places. I have a lot of respect for both organizations, but in the end I felt like New Orleans was my calling. Thats where I belonged, not only to help rebuild that organization and get it back on the right track, but also to help rebuild a community and a region and to do something special.
(on previously mentioning that everything happens for a reason in 2006)
I do believe everything happens for a reason despite the fact that the (shoulder) injury is what caused me to leave San Diego. At the time, I was picturing myself as being the San Diego Chargers quarterback for my entire career. That was my dream. That was my goal at the time. For that to be kind of taken away and all of the sudden you are in limbo, (I was wondering) not only what other team am I going go to, but am I ever going to be able to play at the level that I know I can play at ever again because of this serious shoulder injury? God puts you in a position for a reason, and it goes way beyond football, I think.
(on what continues to drive him considering all of his success)
I think youre always driven by the opportunity to be the best. I am blessed to be able to play in this league. How many people would only dream to be able to play quarterback in the NFL and to take it one step further and have the opportunity to play for a Super Bowl Championship, a world championship, especially for a city like New Orleans and an organization like the New Orleans Saints and for a coach like (Saints Head Coach) Sean Payton and a general manager like (Saints GM) Mickey Loomis and an owner like (Saints Owner) Tom Benson, who really believed in me when nobody else did. They had as much confidence in me as I did in myself. Thats meant the world to me. I want to win it for them, just like I want to win it for all my teammates and my city.
(on what he spoke to Manning about at the Pro Bowl)
Ive known Peyton (Manning) for a long time since I was at Purdue and he was at Indy. I used to go to games. I went to a few games when I was at Purdue as a student. I think he was always very good to me when I was a college quarterback. To think, here we are 10 years later, and its gone by fast, that wed be playing in the Super Bowl against one another, at least our teams... (Its) pretty crazy how things work out.
(on staying focused after not playing a game in two weeks)
From the time that we won the NFC Championship, it was kind of 24 hours of celebrating a little bit and also starting to think about what the plans were going to be like for the next two weeks and really kind of coming up with a plan and a routine and a process for last week and this week, just understanding the hype and the media and the potential distractions and all of those things and just trying to kind of manage all of those things. I talked to a lot of my mentors. I talked to a lot of former quarterbacks who have been to this game before and just got a gauge for just how I wanted to handle this week so that I could get all of my preparation in and be as ready to play and win this game as I could.
(on Saints RB Reggie Bushs potential)
I think the sky is the limit for Reggie Bush. I think he could continue to get a lot better and continue to Just like any young running back in this league, theres that time period or that learning curve where youre just continuing to develop and continuing to learn how to be a pro and kind of honing in on your skills. Obviously, hes one of the most talented players in the NFL, but to see him in that Arizona game have the game that was very completeprobably one of the most impressive performances since Ive seen from him since hes been hereI think he just needs to continue to build upon that (and) continue to fulfill his role. He can really help us win if he does that.