New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw four touchdown passes Monday night, putting his career total at a record-high 541. Before last night, Peyton Manning held the record for the most touchdown passes in league history with 539.
But the 40-year-old quarterback, who helped lead his team to a 2010 Super Bowl championship, hasn't always been on top: When Brees first joined the Saints in 2006, the team was coming off a dismal 3-13 season.
It was during that low point when Brees cemented his leadership, his former teammate Steve Gleason tells ESPN. "We were meeting as a team," Gleason recalls of the start to the 2006 season. "And as Coach [Sean] Payton was wrapping up, unplanned and unannounced, Drew said, 'Hey, Coach, can I talk to the team for a bit without the coaches?' ... He was willing to stand in front of uncertain teammates and set lofty, even outrageous goals, for a team that had gone 3-13 the year before."
"I remember being nervous for him," Gleason continues. "Drew listed the characteristics that he saw as vital to achieve the goal he set for us: courage, resilience, poise, discipline, unity, etc. Not only that, as he listed each characteristic, he talked about players in the room who embodied those characteristics. The team was captivated. We had our leader."
That year, the Saints not only improved their record, they went 10-6 and won their division.
Gleason isn't the only teammate Brees left an impression on.
Former Saints player Lance Moore tells ESPN about his first interaction with Brees at the start of the 2006 season. Having just returned from an injury, he was "a little bit nervous," Moore recalls. "And of course Drew Brees is there bright and early over by his locker. … And sure enough he walks over to me at my locker, introduces himself to me and just tells me if there's anything I ever needed, let him know and he'd help any way he could.
"So for a young guy to have your Pro Bowl starting quarterback come up to you and just kind of open up the lines of communication, that was awesome for me, that was big."
After all, the best leaders — on the football field or in any work environment — have excellent communication skills.
Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett agrees: "If you can't communicate and talk to other people and get across your ideas, you're giving up your potential."
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