Profile raised, but Brees striking right balance

Posted Dec. 19, 2010 @ 3:02 a.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

Drew Brees' celebrity has grown considerably since the Saints won the Super Bowl and he was named MVP of the game earlier this year. He has racked up awards, talk-show appearances, endorsement deals, wrote a best-selling autobiography in the offseason and has continued to be heavily involved in charity work. Yet, one longtime team observer said Brees appears to be balancing it all quite well.

While some figure that all the additional endeavors had to take somewhat of a toll on him, Brees is having another MVP-caliber season. Despite the early-season suspicions of a Super Bowl hangover, New Orleans is in position to secure a wild-card berth in the playoffs, and it still has a chance to win the NFC South for a second straight year, although the Falcons have a one-game lead in the race and also own the tiebreaker at the moment.

Brees is ranked third in the league in passing yards (3,855) and touchdowns (28), and only Tony Romo, who hasn't played in a game since Week Seven, has a higher completion percentage than Brees' 69.0. He has already matched his career high for interceptions (18) and he's thrown at least one pick in nine consecutive games, but he's also attempted more passes than he did in the 15 regular-season games he played in last year. The Saints and Brees don't consider the flurry of picks — he threw only 11 last season — a serious concern, we hear.

"I'm not (that) worried about (the interceptions), but I'm worried about it," Brees said after throwing two picks against the Rams in Week 14. "I'm not going to go into a shell, but it's something that needs to be fixed."

Since he led the Saints to a 20-10 win over Steelers in the second half of a game that was tied 3-3 at halftime, some say Brees has been just about as good as he's ever been.

There's long been speculation about when the Saints will reward Brees with a contract extension — there was a report around the time of the Super Bowl this year that said a deal would get done before the 2010 campaign started. Brees is signed through 2011, and it's expected that the team will try to finalize an extension with him in the coming offseason.