National Football League
National Football League

Undersized QBs want to be Drew Brees – but Brees wanted to be Doug Flutie

Published Apr. 24, 2021 4:20 p.m. ET

Always take note of your idol's idol.

NFL Draft after NFL Draft, quarterbacks are tabbed to lead professional franchises into the future. And quarterback comparisons have become a way of life for scouts and pundits.

If a guy is mobile, you hear the names Lamar Jackson and Michael Vick. If a guy is big and great at the line of scrimmage? You might hear Andrew Luck or even Peyton Manning. 

If a guy is a bit undersized, you always hear one name: Drew Brees. 

Brees, who retired at the end of last season, holds the records for career passing yards (80,358) and completions (7,142), and he's second in career passing touchdowns (571).

But that considering Brees is 6 feet tall and just a hair more than 200 pounds, who is the "small" guy he looked up to?

Colin Cowherd broached the topic on "The Herd" when Brees joined for Friday's edition.


"You have a Steph Curry quality," Colin said to Brees. "Steph Curry gets guys drafted. Trae Young gets drafted because of Steph Curry. You were the guy that wasn't 6-foot-4.

"But who were you compared to a month before the draft?"

Brees' answer wasn't shocking, considering that he spent 20% of his career as this quarterback's teammate, but he went in-depth on what exactly this player meant to him.

"If you would've asked me prior to me getting drafted, growing up through high school and college, who I tried to emulate or was the most similar to in regard to my playing style or who I was trying to be, I would've said Doug Flutie," he said.

"Doug was so influential for me early in my career. He was such a great mentor. He was one of those guys that I feel did not get the credit that he deserved as a player."

Flutie's name is not one you hear often these days. He spent 13 years in the pros, playing for the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and San Diego Chargers as a part-time starter, beginning under center in 66 of his 92 games played.

He was most famous for his 1984 campaign with Boston College, as he won the Heisman Trophy and pulled off one of the most legendary throws in college football history.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Flutie ended his NFL career with a record of 38-28 as a starter, tallying 14,715 passing yards, 86 touchdowns and 68 interceptions.

Arguably his greatest impact came in the way he contributed to one of the most storied careers in league history.

Brees was drafted 32nd overall by the Chargers in 2001, and he served as Flutie's backup in 2001 before assuming the starting role in 2002.

Flutie remained with the team as Brees' backup through the 2004 season, and Brees said Flutie's mentorship was monumental. He even pointed out that Flutie taught him the back-shoulder throw.

"I developed that skill from being with Doug Flutie, and that's a skill that carried me through my whole career," Brees said.

That "career" Brees speaks of includes a Super Bowl ring, a Super Bowl MVP, one first-team All-Pro selection, two NFL Offensive Player of the Year awards and 13 Pro Bowls, among other accolades. 

On Friday, Brees admitted that when he hears of players following in his footsteps, he is flattered.

"I remember when Russell Wilson came out in 2012, and there were a lot of comparisons made between him and me, really based on size and athleticism," he said. "And Russell even came out and said it. And that was a big honor for me."

Wilson isn't the only example. Just last year, comparisons were drawn between Brees and current Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who was selected fifth in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Alabama

More than Tagovailoa's skill, the comparison had a lot to do with his 6-foot, 217-pound frame. 

"I never thought I'd reach a point in my career where I've got guys coming out and saying, 'Yeah, I'm emulating my game after [Drew Brees],'" Brees said.

Well, that point is here, Drew. And more than likely, it will continue for years to come.

Check out Brees' entire interview with Cowherd below:

Former New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees joins Colin Cowherd to discuss why Chargers QB Doug Flutie was such an instrumental part of his success in the NFL.

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