Post-Super Bowl run has been good to Brees

Drew Brees is enjoying the perks of being the Super Bowl
MVP.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback played in a pro-am with Jack
Nicklaus. He was invited to play with Arnold Palmer but had to pass
because he was overseas on his fifth USO tour. He’s been invited to
play in a pro-am before the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Brees will also host the Cox Communications Championship charity
golf tournament in May at Morgan Run in this upscale enclave near
San Diego, with some of the proceeds going to the Brees Dream
Foundation to fund cancer research. He was named host before
leading the Saints to their Super Bowl win against the Indianapolis
Colts.

“I really haven’t played a whole lot, not as much as I would
have liked,” Brees said during a news conference Tuesday. “But I
plan on winning my own tournament now. I’m not making any
guarantees for this year but at some point I will win my
tournament.”

Brees played in the pro-am before the Honda Classic in early
March with Nicklaus, Dan Marino and Kenny G.

“It actually went really well considering I hadn’t picked up a
golf club in seven months,” he said. “It was the most
nerve-racking thing ever. I don’t think any of us as athletes ever
get comfortable with this, especially because we are not really
golfers – we think we are – is lining up on that first tee, with
people lining the fairway and you say, ‘Just don’t hit anyone in
the head.’

“So the first tee they call Jack and he strikes one right down
the middle with his driver. Dan Marino is next and he drives it
down the middle and Kenny G, driver. I have a 3-wood in my hand
because it is really a 3-wood hole, it’s a par 4. But they all hit
drivers so that means I’ve got to hit driver and it’s not a driver
hole. My confidence level is already low but I take the driver and
strike it down the middle and I birdied 18. So it doesn’t matter
what happened in between.”

He was invited to play with Palmer at Bay Hill but was on a USO
tour to Turkey, Africa and Dubai.

“You figure those are two pretty neat opportunities, so this
Super Bowl thing has its perks,” Brees said.

Brees has kept his ties to San Diego despite being
unceremoniously dumped by the Chargers after suffering a shoulder
injury in the final game of the 2005 season.

“At the time I thought it was the worst thing that ever could
have happened to me,” Brees said. “Now I look back and say it’s
the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Brees said he’s releasing a book on July 6, called “Coming Back
Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity.” He described
it as a self-help, motivational book that will touch on him joining
the Saints six months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New
Orleans, as well as his final two seasons in San Diego.

After Brees struggled in 2003, the Chargers obtained Philip
Rivers and a handful of picks for Eli Manning in a 2004 draft day
trade with the New York Giants. Brees led the Chargers to the
playoffs in 2004, but they missed the playoffs the next year and
Brees was injured in the final game. General manager A.J. Smith
kept Rivers and let Brees leave as a free agent.

Will the book have an I-told-you-so feel? “There would be too
many people to tell that to,” Brees said.

“One of the great moments of my life will be holding my son up
there on the trophy stand after the Super Bowl game,” he said.
“That is where you really reflect on the journey, and what it took
to get there and who was a part of that with you, and you try to
just be in the moment. When I was in that moment, I was sitting
there thinking about not the people that doubted me along the way
but the people that believed in me along the way. Those are the
people that deserve the credit.”

Brees also said he thinks friend and former Chargers teammate
LaDainian Tomlinson, released by San Diego in February, will do
well with the New York Jets.

“I think he ended up in a great place, probably the perfect
place for him,” Brees said. “He’s with Brian Schottenheimer,
who’s very familiar with him and his strengths, and in a very
similar system to what he ran here when he was breaking all the
records.”

Brees thinks Tomlinson has plenty left, and that going to a team
like the Jets “will kind of rejuvenate him.”

While Brees was leading the Saints on their Super Bowl run, the
Chargers imploded in a playoff loss to the Jets.

Somehow, ex-Chargers seem to find success elsewhere. Star safety
Rodney Harrison won two Super Bowl rings with New England,
linebacker Junior Seau came close with the Patriots and then Brees
led the Saints to the title.

“We all just landed in some great opportunities,” Brees
said.