The one thing Reggie Bush hasn’t forgotten about winning Super Bowl XLIV, and other Saints notes

New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush (25) scores during the second half in the Saints' NFC title game against the Vikings on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010, at the Superdome  in New Orleans. (Bill Feig/The Advocate)

New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush (25) scores during the second half in the Saints’ NFC title game against the Vikings on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010, at the Superdome in New Orleans. (Bill Feig/The Advocate)

It’s been four years and two teams ago that he helped the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV, but there’s one memory about the championship that hasn’t escaped Reggie Bush’s mind: how he felt when the confetti fell.

“(It’s) that sigh of relief, the sense of accomplishment, everything you’ve worked for your whole life,” Bush said Friday on NBC’s Pro Football Talk. “It finally paid off. It’s the moment you’ve dream of since you were a little kid, and now it came true. It’s a reality. It’s just a great feeling, and it’s something you’ll never forget.”

The Saints’ first-round draft pick in 2006 has a number of connections to Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday. Bush played at USC for Pete Carroll, now the Seattle Seahawks’ head coach. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning used to be with the Colts, whom the Saints defeated in Super Bowl XLIV.

Bush — who spent five seasons with the Saints before being traded to Miami — was a huge part of New Orleans’ lone Super Bowl title, accounting for a combined 1,050 receiving, rushing and punt-return yards as well as a total of 11 touchdowns, including the playoffs. He was with the Dolphins for 2011 and 2012 and spent 2013 with Detroit.

Detroit’s incoming offensive coordinator is Joe Lombardi, who was in his first year as New Orleans’ quarterbacks coach when the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV.

Bush on Friday told Pro Football Talk he pushed the Saints to trade him. At the time, he had forfeited his 2005 Heisman Trophy in the wake of an NCAA scandal ensnaring USC, and the Saints had drafted Mark Ingram out of Alabama in the first round.

“It was tough,” Bush said about asking for the trade from the Saints. “Just the element of the unknown of going to a different team and having to adapt to a new environment, new teammates, new coaching staff, everything — it was a little scary at first.”

Cameron Jordan says Saints would beat Seattle at the Superdome

Bush wasn’t Pro Football Talk’s only guest on Friday that was of interest to Saints fans. Defensive end Cameron Jordan appeared and said that he respected Seattle for beating the Saints this season in Week 13 and in a divisional playoff, yet he sounded quite confident New Orleans would triumph against the Seahawks at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“If they come to us, I think it’s a no-brainer,” said Jordan, who participated in his first Pro Bowl after recording 12.5 sacks this year.

It might be a no-brainer. The Saints have won the last 17 games they’ve played at the Superdome with coach Sean Payton on the sidelines.

Jordan added that he’d prefer it if both Seattle and Denver lost the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday.

“If they (ended) in a tie and I don’t have to deal with the new world champion, I’d be happy,” he remarked.

Jimmy Graham appearing on Jimmy Fallon

All-Pro Saints tight end Jimmy Graham was scheduled to be on NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” on Friday. The show airs at 11:30 p.m.

Brees theatrics are an absurd but fitting end to non-controversy involving Jimmy Graham: opinion

Screenshot from Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, of Drew Brees' standing on talk show host Dan Patrick's desk and screaming, "I want Jimmy Graham back!"

Screenshot from Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, of Drew Brees’ standing on talk show host Dan Patrick’s desk and screaming, “I want Jimmy Graham back!”

After being accused — ridiculously — of possibly hurting Jimmy Graham’s chances to make more money, Saints quarterback Drew Brees appeared on the “Dan Patrick Show” on Friday, stood on the host’s desk, and professed his hope that New Orleans re-signs his star teammate.

“I want Jimmy back!” Brees shouted atop the desk of Patrick, whose show airs on DirecTV’s Audience Network. “I want Jimmy Graham back!”

It was the absurd end to an absurd attempt by some national media members to stir up a controversy around the Saints’ most compelling off-season storyline: retaining Graham.

Brees on Wednesday repeated to NBC Sports Radio’s Erik Kuselias something that Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis had told New Orleans media at the Senior Bowl on Jan. 21: As far the team is concerned, Graham is not a wide receiver, “he is a tight end,” the quarterback said.

That’s the Saints’ stance even if Graham spends the majority of his time on the gridiron lined up as a wideout and a minority of it as an in-line tight end.

Some disagree with that, but there’s logic to the argument first made by Loomis and then rehashed by Brees. Marquee wide receivers like Detroit’s Calvin Johnson and Dallas’ Dez Bryant never line up as in-line tight ends. And, according to ESPN Stats and Information, the Falcons’ Tony Gonzalez — who’s paid as a tight end — ran many more routes as a receiver than Graham did this season.

There’s a number of reasons the tight end-wide receiver distinction is significant. Graham led the NFL in the regular season with 16 touchdown catches and the Saints with 1,215 yards receiving, impressive enough to make him New Orleans’ only First-Team All-Pro player this year.

He is at the end of the contract he accepted as a rookie third-round draft pick in 2010, and he will hit free agency in March if the Saints don’t re-sign him to a new multi-year deal or slap the franchise tag on him. The Saints are pursuing that long-term contract with Graham while trying to get under a salary cap that they’re reportedly several millions of dollars over.

Unsurprisingly, the Saints said they will hand Graham the franchise tag if necessary, which would keep him in New Orleans through the 2014 season.

It’s expected, however, that Graham’s reps would argue that the All-Pro should be paid like a wide receiver and not a tight end for the purposes of the franchise tag. At least one projection estimates the 2014 franchise tag for a tight end will be worth $6.7 million; it’ll be $11.6 million for a wide receiver.

All that was swirling in the background around when Brees offered his opinion on the matter, saying the Saints are “able to do a lot of creative things with Graham.”

“He’s so strong and physical, he plays with great fire and passion, he can play the line, he can split out, Brees said.” Nonetheless, Brees insisted Graham “is a tight end. He is a tight end.”

Afterwards, observers contended that Brees — awarded a $100 million contract in 2012 — was maybe hampering Graham’s earning potential, whether or not it was intentional.

And that’s simply not the case.

The inconvenient truths for Graham presented by the likes of Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant and Tony Gonzalez exist whether or not Brees had said what he did.

They wouldn’t have been erased if Brees came out and said Graham deserved franchise wideout money. They aren’t worse because he called Graham what he went to the Pro Bowl as and was drafted as: a tight end.

Of course, Brees told Patrick as much.

“It really doesn’t matter what I say,” said Brees, who added that he’s since seen Graham and that things are all right. “That has no bearing on the rules as to how he’s designated in the franchise tag or whatever it might be. I will stand up on your table right now and say I want to have Jimmy Graham back. Will that make things better?”

Patrick cleared some space. Brees raised his arms as he screamed that he wanted Graham back on the Saints.

Saints chat with Advocate sportswriter Ramon Antonio Vargas

Watch Drew Brees’ appearance on ‘The Colbert Report’

Saints quarterback Drew Brees

Saints quarterback Drew Brees

Still touring through various TV show sets ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII, Saints quarterback Drew Brees landed on “The Colbert Report” late Thursday and talked to the host about how impatient players are to just take the field for the championship game at this point. Watch the clip at “The Colbert Report” website.

Brees, the MVP of Super Bowl XLIV, said that the title game “can’t get here fast enough” in the final days leading up to it. “You’ve had two weeks to prepare for this, not just one week. … Let’s just go play this game.”

Host Stephen Colbert joked that players probably stared at themselves in the mirror practicing how to say “I’m going to Disney World” until throwing their hands in the air and saying, “(Forget) this — I’ll go to EPCOT, just let me go play!”

Colbert pressed Brees into revealing who he picked to win the Super Bowl. Brees didn’t give in, though he told David Letterman on Wednesday that he’d like to see Peyton Manning’s Broncos defeat Russell Wilson’s Seahawks, who beat the Saints twice this season.

Brees said it’d be the perfect way for veteran Manning to finish his “incredible” year, during which he set NFL records by throwing for 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards. Second-year Wilson can expect more chances at a title in the future, Brees added.

Colbert teased Brees about how one takes command of a room, or “owns” it. “You’re prepared for any situation,” Brees replied. “It’s a quiet confidence.”

Brees goes to bat for new Pro Bowl format

Associated Press/CBS photo by JOHN PAUL FILO -- In this photo provided by CBS, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, left, joins host David Letterman on the set of The Late Show with David Letterman in New York on Wednesday.

Associated Press/CBS photo by JOHN PAUL FILO — In this photo provided by CBS, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, left, joins host David Letterman on the set of The Late Show with David Letterman in New York on Wednesday.

Drew Brees’ appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman” marked the second time Wednesday that the Saints quarterback voiced his excitement about the new Pro Bowl format the NFL unveiled this year.

“It was more like a real football game,” Brees said about the Pro Bowl, to which players for the first time were voted without regard to conference before they were then divvied up into two teams in a schoolyard-style draft. “You give guys an extra edge: ‘I’m here to produce and help my team.’

“You’re more invested by the score and everything else. (The hitting) was cranked up a little bit. We got hit a little more than we’re used to being hit.”

A few hours earlier, Brees appeared on Fox Sports 1′s “Super Bowl Daily” and echoed similar sentiments about this year’s Pro Bowl, which his team — overseen by Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice — won 22-21 on a late two-point conversion.

“I think some guys had their feelings hurt because of where they were drafted or weren’t drafted,” said Brees, who threw a touchdown in the game to All-Pro Saints tight end Jimmy Graham as well as an interception on 9-of-19 passing for 81 yards.

Brees was a player-captain who helped Rice choose his team, and he said, “I had at least five or six guys come up to me and say, ‘Hey, you drafted so-and-so ahead of me?’ And now they’ve got something to prove; so if they weren’t motivated going in, now they were.”

That was about all Brees said about the Pro Bowl on Fox Sports 1, however, because he strangely spent the rest of the segment sharing one story about how he accidentally struck former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin in the head with Mardi Gras beads during the Saints’ Super Bowl victory parade in February 2010 and another about how he stabbed Nagin in the hand with a pair of scissors at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Other topics Brees addressed with Letterman on Wednesday included:

– Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, whom Brees called “a smart, well-spoken guy.” Sherman tipped a pass aimed at 49ers wideout Michael Crabtree, resulting in an interception that clinched a Super Bowl berth for Seattle. Sherman then declared he was the “best corner in the game” and called Crabtree a “sorry receiver” in his post-game interview on the field, causing a national uproar.

Brees thought the media “probably built that up a bit more than they needed to.”

“Listen, he’s an outspoken guy,” said Brees, whose Saints lost to the Seahawks on Dec. 2 and then in a playoff game on Jan. 11. “That’s just his personality. That’s just the way he plays. … They just caught him at a bad moment.”

– Peyton Manning, who has Brees’ support to win Super Bowl XLVIII this Sunday with the Broncos. Manning, who’s turning 38 in March, set NFL records this season by passing for 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards. The second mark beat one of 5,476 yards that Brees posted in 2011, a campaign that Manning missed after undergoing a career-threatening surgery to alleviate neck pain while he was with the Indianapolis Colts.

“If this is the last game of his career or it’s coming to an end soon, it’d be an unbelievable way to go out,” Brees said about Manning, who was with the Colts when they were beat in Super Bowl XLIV by the Saints.

Brees noted that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is “an unbelievable player” who can expect to have more championship opportunities in the future. On Thursday night, he went on “The Colbert Report” and said Wilson is “mature beyond his years; he’s a true pro — the more success that comes his way, the more humble he becomes.”

– Lastly, Brees told Letterman he’s hoping he and his wife, Brittany, one day have a daughter to go with their sons Baylen, Bowen and Callen.

Drew Brees recalls pelting Ray Nagin in the head with beads, stabbing him in the hand with scissors

Saints quarterback Drew Brees

Saints quarterback Drew Brees

Judging from the graphics on the screen, Fox Sports 1 apparently expected to talk to Saints quarterback Drew Brees about how to beat Peyton Manning in a Super Bowl and whom he was picking be NFL champion this year. But somehow Brees instead talked about accidentally striking former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin in the noggin with Mardi Gras beads and also stabbing him in the hand with a pair of scissors.

About the episodes with Nagin, Brees said: “This guy thought, ‘I’m staying away from this dude. He’s got it out for me.’”

Brees is in New York making various television appearances ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII, set to be played Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J. Nagin, mayor from 2002 to 2010, is in the middle of jury selection for his trial on federal corruption charges in New Orleans.

Brees was a guest on Fox Sports 1′s “Super Bowl Daily” on Wednesday evening and had just finished talking about, among other things, his latest trip to the Pro Bowl when reporter Jay Glazer made a strange comment to Brees about how Nagin once thought the Saints quarterback “had a hit out on him.”

Brees was momentarily taken aback, and then he explained to viewers that what Glazer referred to was the time he threw beads at the mayor during the Super Bowl XLIV victory parade in downtown New Orleans in February 2010.

Ray Nagin arrives at the Hale Boggs Federal Building in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

Ray Nagin arrives at the Hale Boggs Federal Building in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

The beads hit Nagin in the head “as he’s trying to give us all a key to the city,” said Brees,
who was named MVP of the Super Bowl, New Orleans’ lone major sports championship. Brees and the Saints had triumphed over the Colts, quarterbacked at the time by Manning, who is now with the Broncos and is facing Seattle for the Super Bowl on Sunday.

“I about knocked him out,” Brees, the MVP of Super Bowl XLIV, added. Brees needled Glazer about bringing up a story the quarterback had shared with the reporter “in confidence.”

To the benefit of New Orleanians in the city and across America, Glazer didn’t let the matter end there.

The reporter said to Brees, “There’s a second one. And then you almost stabbed him.”

Brees picked it up from there, saying that actually had happened at a ribbon-cutting.

“It was a long pair of scissors,” Brees recounted. “I had (them) in my hand and the sharp end was sticking out. I went to shake his hand and I stabbed him in the hand.

“So I pelted him in the head with beads, and I stabbed him in the hand with scissors.”

Brees is scheduled to appear on “Late Night with David Letterman” on Wednesday night; “The Colbert Report” on Thursday night; and “LIVE! With Kelly and Michael” on Friday.”

Nagin, meanwhile, stands accused of trading city assets or the promise of them for personal profit.

Drew Brees: NFL concussion lawsuit settlement should be heftier than proposed

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws a pass during a 2014 Pro Bowl practice. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws a pass during a 2014 Pro Bowl practice. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

The proposed $765 million settlement in the NFL concussion lawsuit seemed to involve a lot of money — but it wasn’t nearly enough, Saints quarterback Drew Brees told afternoon talk-show host Katie Couric in a segment that aired Wednesday.

“There’s so many guys out there that need to qualify for disability and certainly need a lot more,” said Brees, who recently completed his 13th season in the NFL and his eighth with the Saints and is a member of the NFL Players Association’s executive board. “The amount of money that they’re talking about … sounds like a lot, but really it’s just a drop in the bucket for the amount of help that these guys need.”

Brees also reiterated a point to Couric that he’s made to the media before: the NFL is much better educated about concussion and traumatic brain injuries now than it was in the past. However, on Wednesday he told Couric the league can still “certainly do more” to protect its players’ health.

Couric didn’t ask him to elaborate.

There is scientific evidence of a link between violent collisions common in football games and early onset dementia, brain damage and other devastating conditions found in ex-players. Works such as Frontline’s “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis” have documented how the league denied that evidence and sought to discredit it through the years.

Numerous ex-players filed a class-action lawsuit accusing the NFL of failing to provide adequate warning of the long-term risks of concussions in order to protect the image of the multibillion-dollar business of pro football. The league proposed to settle the litigation for $765 million, but the federal judge presiding over the case rejected it earlier this month, reasoning that it may not be hefty enough to cover the injured players.

Meanwhile, the league has been changing its rules to limit some of the game’s more violent hits, though there’s evidence that a career’s worth of less graphic, routine collisions can be just as devastating to a player.

Many — especially in New Orleans — believe the sanctions handed to the Saints in the wake of the bounty scandal in 2012 were merely meant to send a message that the NFL was trying to make the game safer as concussion litigation ramped up.

The MVP of Super Bowl XLIV also spoke with Couric about his wife, Brittany; their sons Baylen, Bowen and Callen; The Brees Dream Foundation; and the circumstances under which he joined the Saints in 2006.

Brees is scheduled to appear on “Late Night with David Letterman” on Wednesday night; “The Colbert Report” on Thursday night; and “LIVE! With Kelly and Michael” on Friday.”

Drew Brees gearing up for Letterman, Colbert show appearances

FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2012, file photo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) watches from the sidelines during the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Detroit Lions in New Orleans.

FILE – In this Jan. 7, 2012, file photo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) watches from the sidelines during the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Detroit Lions in New Orleans.

After spending all season watching him accumulate passing yardage and throw touchdowns, fans can now see Saints quarterback Drew Brees crack some jokes on national television this week.

He’s scheduled to be a guest Wednesday on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” which airs at 10:35 p.m. central time. This is the fourth time Brees will be a guest of Letterman’s.

Others guests Wednesday are actor/author B.J. Novak and the musical act Against Me!, and NBA Commissioner David Stern will present a Top Ten list.

Then, on Thursday, Brees is set to appear on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.” Hosted by comedian and political satirist Stephen Colbert, the show airs at 10 p.m. central time. Brees is one of several NFL personalities scheduled to appear this week, which is leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII between Denver and Seattle on Sunday.

Update: Brees on Friday will also be on “Live! With Kelly and Michael.” That show, hosted by Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa, airs at 9 a.m. in New Orleans on WWL-TV, the local CBS affiliate.

Terron Armstead has minor hand surgery, he says on Twitter

New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Terron Armstead (72) talks to reporters during their NFL football training camp in Metairie, La., Friday, July 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Terron Armstead (72) talks to reporters during their NFL football training camp in Metairie, La., Friday, July 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Terron Armstead, made the Saints’ starting left tackle late this past season, underwent a small surgical procedure in one of his hands Tuesday morning, he announced to his Twitter followers.

“Minor hand surgery in the morning!!” he tweeted late Monday, prompting messages of support from Saints fans. “Praying for success and a speedy recovery.”

 

There’s nothing to indicate Armstead wouldn’t enjoy the kind of recovery for which he was praying.

Armstead, a third-round draft pick in 2013, began protecting quarterback Drew Brees’ blind side after Week 15, when left tackle Charles Brown failed to contain St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn in a 27-16 defeat for New Orleans.

He struggled in the first half of his debut, a 17-13 loss at Carolina; but he impressed the rest of the way, including a 42-17 win in the regular-season finale against Tampa Bay, a 26-24 victory at Philadelphia in a wild-card playoff and the season-ending 23-15 loss to Seattle in the divisional round.

Armstead attributed his quick improvement to “just getting comfortable.”

It was, he said, “getting experience, the game speed, game flow, … knowing what to expect.”

Coach Sean Payton added, “From the day he was inserted, … he showed a lot.”

Update: Armstead got on Twitter on Tuesday evening and said his surgery went well.

 

Saints’ Brees helps Seahawks’ Wilson prepare for big game

NEW YORK – Since winning the NFC title nine days ago, much has been said and written about the Seattle Seahawks’ lack of Super Bowl experience.

While no one on their 53-man active roster has played in a Super Bowl, second-year quarterback Russell Wilson made sure he was prepared for it when the time came.

Wilson will take his first snap in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday when the Seahawks take on the AFC champion Denver Broncos in MetLife Stadium, but he may feel more like a seasoned veteran thanks to his experience in New Orleans a year ago.

Wilson’s main objective in going to the Big Easy wasn’t to party, but to envision what it’d be like when the Seahawks got there.

“I went to the Super Bowl just to observe and watch and do some broadcasting stuff, but my main objective within all of that was to get prepared for the situation,” Wilson said. “Just observing and noticing the time that it took in terms of pregame, in terms of halftime, you never know what may happen.

“You always have to be prepared for that. I think the biggest thing for our team is noticing that circumstances are a little bit different. At the same time, it still feels like 100 yards (long) and 53 and a third (yards wide). It doesn’t change.”

Before the Seahawks played the Saints in early December, Wilson talked about how he’s closely followed the career of Drew Brees — mainly because they’re both slight in stature compared to the prototypical NFL quarterback.

To add to his research on playing in the league’s title game, Wilson said he talked to Brees, the most valuable player of Super Bowl XLIV, last week.

“We’ve been in communication over the past week, just (talking) about the experience,” Wilson said. “Like I said, he knows that I look up to him. He’s a great individual and he was just talking about the experience.

“I’ve read his book several times … he’s just a great inspiration. He’s a guy that does things right, a guy that is a great leader and is so poised in big situations. That’s the thing you notice about him.”