Drew Brees has hope for the future of the NFL after the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis passes.
The New Orleans Saints quarterback, 41, and his wife Brittany Brees, 43, appeared on Tuesday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where he opened up about how he feels about returning to the field one day.
Asked if he would be interested in playing games without fans in the stands — a scenario first suggested by the National Basketball Association back in March, before the full shutdown of its season — Drew admitted the experience wouldn’t feel the same.
“You’re used to those loud atmospheres,” said Drew. “I think it would be really weird. Maybe you just click in and you’re in a zone. But I’ll tell you where the fans really help, is wherever you get hit and knocked down and you’re wondering what happened, you just listen to the fans and they tell you whether the ball was complete or not. That was one big benefit. Obviously we’d miss out on that.”
Drew said, “We hope that this will be back to normal so we can play real football.”
“The American people need sports right now,” Drew added. “That’s typically something that’s really brought us through a lot of tough situations in our country. People have been able to lean on a lot of sports teams or national teams to just unite them and get their mind off the challenges of daily life and daily struggle. We don’t even have that right now, and that’s another reason why this is so tough.”
Drew went on to say that he’s still keeping up with his training while staying at home with his wife and their four young children.
“I’m trying to do what I would normally do; the same routine, just a little different,” Drew said. “Normally I would go to the gym, be training with other NFL guys, with some of my mentors. I haven’t been able to do that. There’s been some FaceTime and Zoom workouts but a lot of it’s just been on our own.”
“This is my new workout partner right here for the time being,” he joked about Brittany — who quickly stressed, ” I eat while he works out.”
Back in March, the Brees — who have been married since 2003 — revealed that they were donating $5 million to the state of Louisiana for COVID-19 relief.
Drew said on Ellen that the money was going to feeding those in need, including kids, seniors, and frontline healthcare workers. They aligned themselves with Second Harvest Food Bank, who run five food banks throughout the state of Louisiana.
‘We spent a lot of time assessing the greatest need in Louisiana, not just New Orleans but throughout the state,” said Drew. “As you know, so much of the life blood of Louisiana is small business. It’s the hospitality industry and so many of those people have been laid off, don’t have a source of income right now. We felt like, just from talking to many people, that the biggest need were meals. … How we can feed as many people as possible and make sure they have some of their most basic needs.”
“The need is great,” Drew stressed. “It’s that challenge of keeping people safe, keeping people away from the virus, and also being able to support them. That’s why we’re finding with so many of the meal programs, it’s different than a soup kitchen where everybody shows up and you can feed thousands. This is where you have to be so careful with individually packing each meal, delivering them in a safe manner, and doing it to where no one is slipping through the cracks. We want to make sure we’re getting to everybody. That’s the biggest challenge right now. Identifying those people and getting to them.”
Also on Ellen, Drew and Brittany gave a message of hope to viewers struggling during the outbreak.
“We’re going to get through this but we’re going to get through this together,” Drew said. “Love your neighbor, take care of your neighbor, look out for your neighbor. Everybody has a part in these relief efforts, in this recovery. The responsibility to do the right thing in regards to protecting your family, in keeping them out of harm’s way. At the same time, that keeps others out of harm’s way as well.”
“We’ll be the first ones to tell you, this is not an easy situation,” he said. “I think so many families, so many parents have ben thrust into really, really difficult situations. They’re working from home and yet they have to home school their kids at the same time. Nothing about this is normal for anybody. But it has to become the new normal, and it’s the new routine for however long it takes. The more disciplined, the more diligent we are with this right now, I think the better we will come on the back side of this.”
“There is no doubt in my mind, our country, our citizens, our people, we are so resilient, we have so much resolve, we have been through so much,” said Drew. “The best of America, the best of Americans, will show once we get out of this process and we are on with normal life.”
Added Brittany: “Adversity, I think, it makes you so much stronger. It challenges you in a way, it stretches you in a way, it shows you the things that you took for granted before; the things you took advantage of; to really look at the positive in a situation.”
“If you look around, so many people are doing amazing things,” she said. “These healthcare workers, these doctors, these nurses, all these people are really stepping up and rising to the occasion. Look at the best in people. That’s what we’re continuing to do. Hopefully, other people lead by example and it all kind of trickles down. It’s going to be okay. If we can all do this together, it’s going to be okay.”
The Ellen DeGeneres Show airs weekdays in syndication (check local listings).
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