New Orleans Saints Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Friday, March 15, 2019
How tough of a decision was this for you?
“Whenever you get an opportunity like the one I have had, you want to take advantage of it. Of course, (Miami) is home and everything with my family, my friends. But, my family and my community respect any decision that I make. They just want to see what's best for me. I just wanted to make a decision where I could put myself in the best situation to succeed as a man and as a player in this league. I think with what I was able to experience last year, being a part of the Saints organization, it really drove me to want to experience that and be a part of that again this year.”
When did you make the final decision? I mean, when you totally have your mind made up?
“I would say yesterday. I had a pretty good idea, but you do not want to shut all the doors right away. I just wanted to make sure that I was making the best decision for myself and my ability to just continue to grow as a player in this league. I talked with my team (representation). We had long conversations just about every other hour and we finally decided to return to New Orleans.”
Is the fact that that other option was in your hometown, did that make the decision even harder?
“It definitely made it a challenge. Everything's here which is convenient, but at the same time, home is always home. I’m from a community here that welcomes me with open arms and they respect any decision that I make and they're very supportive of each decision that I make. At the end of the day, it was tough, but they respect my decision.”
You've spoken about this before, but what was the last year like for you just being around Drew (Brees), Sean (Payton), Joe Lombardi, all those guys? Was that experience different than anything you had experienced previously in the NFL?
“Yes, it was very different. Just to be in a room where everyone is on the same page from the head coach, to offensive coordinator, to quarterback coach, to starting quarterback, to all the other quarterbacks in the room. To be a part of that and to see how it's run, how a well-oiled machine runs, it was great to experience that and I'm looking forward to this year also.”
How much did that play a role in wanting to come back? Did you feel like you developed in that setting last year?
“Yes, I think last year, because I’d arrived at the end of training camp and the preseason, I was kind of learning on the fly and everyone was getting to know me on the fly. It was a great relationship with the coaching staff, locker room, and the fan base. I’m looking forward to returning and actually getting a full spring and a full training camp with this staff. I’m very excited about that.”
What do you think it says about you that most guys have a chance to go somewhere to start, they'll jump on the opportunity, but what do you think that says about you that you're willing to be a backup and be patient and just kind of wait your turn?
“I think for me, you ultimately play this game to compete and to start, but at the same time, I'm still 26 years old. The way I look at it is that I'll have another opportunity to start (in) this league at some point. I look at this year as I get the opportunity to continue to learn from a guy who is going to be a future Hall of Famer. You get to be a part of a team that was as a call away from being in the Super Bowl. I get to be a part of a coaching staff that grinds on a daily basis, that spends numerous nights at that facility to make sure that their players are in the best position to win. I look at those things and I tell myself, hey, this is what I play this game for and eventually my time will come when I can start.”
Have you talked to Drew (Brees) much during this process at all?
“I haven’t really had the chance to talk to Drew (Brees). I know he's back out west with his family and training for the offseason. I'm pretty sure I’ll reach out to him this weekend and talk about some things moving forward as far as routines and what's his mindset as far as training wise as we get ready for the spring program.”
I assume it was important to you though to know the Saints do have a vision for you as a potential starter in the future and this could be about a long-term thing. Did they properly convey that to you? That they like what they saw from you enough to maybe be that guy for the future?
“I think right now the focus is just on this year. As I just stated, we were a call away from being (in) the Super Bowl and I think everyone is returning with that mindset that we need to get back to the stage and win. That's the focus right now. Of course we have to go through the spring program and training camp and when the fall comes, we'll talk about winning football games.”
What were your conversations like with Sean (Payton) when I'm assuming he was convincing you to stay? What did you guys talk about?
“We just talked and we discussed some things. I'd rather not discuss what he and I talked about, but we had some conversations and I was glad to be able to hear what he thinks as far as this upcoming season and so on.”
When you tweeted about it being 13 years later, did you know that it was the date that Drew Brees made his decision to come to the Saints?
“No, I had no idea. I actually saw something just flash across my phone and I was just thinking like, wow, it's crazy how history repeats itself sometimes.”
With the tweet, could you see a longer-term vision to do something similar to what maybe Drew (Brees) experienced? Was that kind of the thinking behind it?
“Honestly, I’m just thinking about this year. I’m trying to make sure I’m the best player that I can be, be the best teammate I can be, be the best guy in the community that I can be, and everything else will take care of itself.”
What was it in particular that you enjoyed so much about the fit in New Orleans offensive system and that it felt like it was the right kind of place for you to continue to develop yourself as a quarterback?
“When you look at what this offense has done over the past decade, it's like everything is right there. It's proven. It's a proven offense, a proven staff, and of course, it did not just happen. You don’t just roll the ball out there. Of course, you've got to put to work in and that's something that I look forward to. The opportunity to work with the staff, continue to work with the staff, continue to work with a guy like Drew (Brees) and learn from him and get a full spring to just pick his brain, ask questions, and learn different techniques and different routines to excel as a player myself.”
Was this free agency any different for you than last years? Were teams less concerned maybe about the knee injuries then they were a year before?
“Yeah, it was definitely different. I’m more grateful for the opportunity I have this year. Last year I was just hoping for a chance for someone to take a chance on me and the New York Jets actually did and I am thankful that they took a chance on me, but this year was different to actually be wanted and it’s a great feeling. I am looking forward to just getting back to work, getting back in the locker room with the guys, and just having fun again.”=
What are the Saints getting in Latavius Murray? I know you two played one season together in Minnesota, but what are they going to get in a guy like that?
“He’s a versatile guy, he can be a bruiser, he can be the elusive guy coming out of backfield to catch the ball, and he runs hard behind his size. He’s smart football player and he’s a great teammate. He’s a guy you won't have any issues with. He’s a guy who is passionate about what he does and he's going to be one of those guys who does great things for this team.”
I'm sure you were excited and antsy to get a chance to be a starter again. Are you almost excited or surprised yourself to find yourself willing to be patient and to actually have turned down maybe a starting opportunity that to go this route?
“I've always been taught that patience is the key. For me, it’s about longevity. My mom always told me that the first will be last and the last will be first. I have that mindset that everything will work out in my favor. I'm just honored and grateful to be in the position that I’m in and I'm looking forward to it.”