What was your reaction to Sean Payton confirming he would be staying with the New Orleans Saints?
“Obviously, I’m very excited that he’s back and honestly I had a good feeling about it. I know the vision that’s been laid out from the entire time that we’ve been here. Especially from last year to this year. Obviously last year’s 7 -9 team was completely different than this year’s 7-9 team. I think we all finished last season really kind of depressed, disappointed, extremely disappointed, with that season ended but also feeling like our team wasn’t where it needed to be. The comradery, the character of the leadership and a lot of changes were made last off season.
“We went out and acquired some guys through free agency that we felt fit that mold and acquired some guys in the draft that we felt that mold and I felt like while we were still maybe a bit young this year and probably made some mistakes, lost some games that we shouldn’t have, at the end of the day, we ended this season very excited about our future. A lot of the young players that we have, the character, the leadership and the foundation that’s been built for moving forward.”
How much does it factor in with Sean Payton being here in your decision to also be here? I know you love New Orleans, to maybe restructure your contract and be a Saint, to play the rest of the career in New Orleans and maybe work with the Saints to restructure your deal or going forward, is that something that you think with Sean being here that brings stability and that’s something that you would definitely take into consideration?
“There are a lot of things that going into every offseason that you think about. I mean you’re thinking about where we’re trying to get better, how are we trying to make acquisitions, are we doing it through free agency, are we doing it through the draft, who potentially are we losing, what positions do we have to fill, what’s our cap situation like. I know my cap number is really high next year being that as money is guaranteed throughout the course of my contract it basically pushes some of the owing of that into my last year which next year is my last year so obviously that cap number is very high. I plan on playing in New Orleans as long as my career goes and I hope that’s at least a few more years, quite a bit longer. I don’t plan on playing anywhere else, I don’t plan on playing for any other coach and I’m very confident as those things kind of come together, that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. I’ve always taken that stance that any conversation that takes place between myself, Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton, Mr. Benson, in regards to my contract, my agent, those things stay in house with us and when there is news to be reported, that is when we will report it.”
Sean Payton acknowledged that he’s excited about the young players on the team and who excites you when you when you look at not only offensively but defensively when you’re practicing against them or you can see their upside, like
“Another new face this year was
Drew, physically you dealt with a couple of things, you only missed one game or you would’ve been a 5,000 yard-passer again and you’ve done that a number of times. How is the foot right now?
“I need to give my foot some rest. I went to see (Dr. Bob Anderson) yesterday in Charlotte, NC, and the prognosis was good, it was just basically ‘you need to rest your foot.’ I didn’t have that luxury a couple weeks ago, I had to find a way to play. Now I’m at the point that I want this thing to heal, I want it to heal properly and in 4-6 weeks I should be fine and its good I have the time to do that. By the time even March rolls around but certainly April when we start training again, I’ll be good to go.”
The ownership question, is that an issue to you, I know you’ve acknowledge along with Sean Payton how you respect and trust and really love Tom Benson and Mrs. Gayle, what they’ve done giving you an opportunity, does that even come into play or do you leave that with your agent to handle that down the road, what approach do you take where there’s maybe a question mark with the ownership?
“I don’t think there’s a question with ownership at all. Like you’ve said and we’ve voiced many times before, Mr. Benson and Gayle have, ever since we’ve been there, they have done everything they possible could have to put us in the best position to succeed. Obviously there’s a reason that I’m in New Orleans along with Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis, but I know this, knowing that they’re there and knowing that they’re the ones making the decisions, I think that gives us all a great sense of security just knowing that we are always going to be given the best chance to succeed and to win and continue to progress forward. I couldn’t imagine myself playing for another ownership group ever, I think they’re first class and always have been.”
Drew, the class of 2006, there are still a few standing, obviously yourself,
“I hope so. We got that picture on the field after the Atlanta game and I’ve taken a few moments just to kind of look at that to reflect back on the last ten years. It’s been an unbelievable journey with those guys. I mean how rare is that to have four guys on the same side of the ball for ten years, for a decade. So many great moments together, so many wins. Something we don’t take for granted. We don’t know how much time any of us have so we’ll just kind of relish the moment while we do have it. We’ll always be great friends and we’ll always have a great bond because of what we’ve been able to do together.”
Looking at the Falcons game and how it ended at such a high note. Just talk to the fans how as a player, it does matter how you finish the season whether you’re in the playoffs or not. Looking at the last month, looking at the last 3 or 4 games, y’all were able to do that to win 3 of 4. I think going forward, ending up on the plus side of that turnover margin is critical, that had to be very gratifying beating the Falcons twice this year.
“They’re a team that obviously was 5-0 the first time we played them and was just coming off beating the undefeated Carolina Panthers the second time we played them at their place and were able to get the win there. Like you said, to finish the season winning 3 of 4, I think that was very encouraging because it felt like we turned the corner in a lot of ways. We really started to figure out the formula and this is how we win. I felt like all those games were great team efforts all the way around, you could point to things that happen on each side of the ball that were instrumental in us getting those victories. Some young guys came through and some big games, career type games. Any time that happens, it makes you really look forward to the future. Which goes back to the beginning of our conversation and that’s building the foundation by which you can build a winning program moving forward and feeling these next few years it’s our opportunity to really make a run at it.”