Former New Orleans Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks will be one of two players going into the Saints Hall of Fame this fall, the other being former teammate John Carney. Brooks was interviewed last week by Sean Kelley for the Black and Blue Report. Below is the transcript of that interview. How did you get the news that you were being inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame?
"I was asleep on my couch taking a nap, and Ken Trahan calls me. I'm like, 'Hello?' He just went on and started saying that I've been inducted, and I was like, 'Huh? What are you talking about?' I said, 'Hold up man, let me sit up.' So at this point my heart was beating and my palms got a little sweaty and I'm just listening, and I just was in disbelief. I was so thrown back or shaken up from it all, from the news, that I didn't even explain it correctly to my wife. So that's how I found out. I was asleep on the couch when Ken called, and I had to sit up and listen to him very carefully to find out what exactly he was talking about."
In talking with John Carney, he said there was a sense of happiness going through him? Is that too simple, or does that hit the nail on the head?
"I think you hit it pretty much right one the head. Obviously, it's a great honor. I used to walk in the Superdome every time we practiced in the Superdome and said to myself, 'I want to hang up on those rafters.' But at the end of the day, us as players are trying to make a livelihood for our families, for ourselves, so that stuff is not in the forefront. What's in the forefront is keeping the job, doing the best you can, and making people proud of you around you. To know and to have met some of the players I've gotten to know over the years, it does bring that sense of happiness and joy to you."
Are there moments in your career here that stand out more than others, since time has passed?
"I have some stories that I can tell and I have some stories that shouldn't be told at all (laughter). There are some memorable moments. The ones that, from a challenging perspective, are 9/11, the D.C. sniper, and Hurricane Katrina, all which were major moments in United States history. To prevail from that and to know that you're still standing, it's one of the many challenges that we had to face. On a positive note, I go back to my first start knowing that my first pass was an interception and my second was a touchdown. I think about comeback victories that we've had in the past. Playing the defending world champions three times in 45 days, knocking them off, and winning the first ever Saints playoff victory. Some funny moments with players as we reminisce about at Ole Saint – Deuce McAllister's Ole Saint Kitchen and Tap last night – about old players and what they did, and how we as players and as the team, the organization, the coaching staff handled things, good or bad. Obviously, more recently, the 2005 Hurricane Katrina season being displaced and not knowing where we're going to practice and how we're going to lift weights or the locker room divided from a baseball field locker room, skill position players on one side and big men on the other side. It's crazy to know that of all the trying times and the challenging moments, we were able to find some bright spots and do a few things and really uplift a community and bring them up to level that they had never been. I think that was more memorable than anything that I can think of, because when you look at the Saints now and know that they have a taste of winning. For Sean Payton and Drew Brees to take them to the next level, for everyone to witness what it's like to be World Champions. I don't think we can fully understand or express how much the fans appreciate that over the years, ever since I got here. It's just remarkable."
You led the team to its first ever playoff victory. When you see the Saints winning playoff games, do you say, 'Yeah I started that.'?
"Not really. I'm proud of that fact. I'm proud that people recognize me for my efforts and I'm proud of the fact that I know in my time here I made a difference, I made change, I made things better, we did not digress. I think that's more meaningful to me to know that I helped contribute to this city, to this team, to this organization, and to my teammates. Not only was I a so-called philanthropist in the community, I was also a teammate and friend to a lot of guys and a lot of people. That's more of a feeling that I have when I look at it all."
Our visit is in the Superdome today. When was the last time you were here? What feels different coming back today?
"2004. First of all, when I came through garage one, normally that wasn't the garage that we went in as players. I had a little difficulty getting to where I needed to get to today. I got out the car and I walked toward the nearest door and tried to open it up, and they were locked. I'm not a player anymore, we don't enter through those doors. I know I have to go somewhere else. That was the first thing that I did. Then I said, 'Wait a minute, settle down and go all the way to the top, something is up there.' I end up coming to the top, and Mr. Gordon was there waiting for me. I really haven't seen much since then, because I haven't seen the field and haven't gotten that feel or haven't walked on that field. It has been since 2004 since I have actually been up in here."
Has it started to enter your mind, the moment when you come on the field and are introduced as a Saints Hall of Famer in front of a home crowd here in New Orleans?
"Yeah. I'm a bit nervous and emotional. I hope I'm received very warmly, a very warm welcome. I hope people understand what I tried to get accomplished, but I don't know. Just dealing with the unknown is a little difficult at this time. There are so many people that are proud of me, and it's kind of hard to be happy and tell them about this accomplishment and this success, although I want them to be there and to witness it. I just don't know, you know?"