It seems like everybody’s got a little advice for New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley after he missed a short field-goal attempt in overtime against Atlanta.
But maybe the guy Hartley should listen to most is quarterback Drew Brees. After all, Brees is the leader of this team and he’s also a guy who went through some hard times earlier in his career. Brees told the New Orleans media on Wednesday that he has sat down and talked to Hartley about getting through a rough period.
“I told him I’ve been benched three times,’’ Brees said. “I said, it’s all part of the process. Every young player has to learn it. There’s no shortcut to it. There’s no easy way to it. You just have to learn it the hard way. You’re learning it the hard way. Make the most of it. Absorb everything you can from John Carney. John Carney’s a Hall of Fame kicker. I’ve lost track of how many years he’s played. He’s played more years than Hartley’s been alive probably. Really, we should look that up. Is that true?’’
For the record, it’s not quite true. Carney, 46, appeared in his first NFL game in 1988. Hartley, 24, was born in 1986. But you get Brees’ point, which is to learn from your elders.
“How many opportunities do you get like that,’’ Brees said. “When I had the opportunity to play with Doug Flutie when I was a rookie and then Mark Brunell, you constantly are a sponge and take in everything you can. Garrett Hartley has a ton of talent and he’s already made some big kicks in his career and there are plenty more that he has to make in the future. This is just one of those times where he has to gut it out a little bit.”