But Brees is picking up his share of hardware. The latest came Friday night in Los Angeles as Brees was announced the winner of the 46th annual Byron “Whizzer’’ White Award during the NFL Players Association PULSE Awards.
White served as a Supreme Court Justice. The award is designed to honor a player who embodies White’s ideals of a “scholar, athlete, patriot, humanitarian and public servant." All 32 teams nominate a player and the list is then narrowed to three finalists. Pittsburgh quarterback Charlie Batch and New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson were the other finalists with Brees.
“It’s such a tremendous honor,’’ Brees said. “As I look at the list of names associated with this award, and certainly the namesake, Mr. Byron 'Whizzer' White, this award stands for so much.''
Brees also got pretty philosophical about his role as a football player and citizen during his acceptance speech.
“My head coach, Sean Payton, is a Bill Parcells disciple, and something that he has told us many times -- you’ll actually hear Bill Parcells say it as well -- as an NFL player, you get asked to ride on that train, and you try and ride it for as long as you can,’’ Brees said. “At some point, you’re going to be asked to get off, but you’re going to be better having had the opportunity to ride on that train. I think also, the mindset should be not only is it going to leave you better than when it found you, but I think your mission should be to leave the game better than when you found it. Not only does that mean what you do on the field, but that means what you do off the field.”
Brees has been extremely active in charitable and community events since arriving in New Orleans in 2006. Even before that, he was involved in charitable activities. As a member of the San Diego Chargers in 2003, he started The Brees Dream Foundation to advance cancer research and help children in need.
Brees also received another award Friday night. As the result of fan voting, Brees was chosen as the winner of the “Heart of the Game Award. That’s designed to honor a player for his “determination, enthusiasm and overall passion for the game and his teammates."