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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Brees all for Brady breaking passing yards mark

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6:45 PM ET

  • laine jenna

    Jenna LaineESPN Staff Writer

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    • Covered the Buccaneers since 2009
    • Joined ESPN in 2016

TAMPA, Fla. — When Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady takes the field Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, to face his former team, the New England Patriots, he’ll need just 68 yards to break Drew Brees’ NFL career passing yardage record of 80,358 yards.

“I’m a firm believer that records are meant to be broken,” said the former New Orleans Saints quarterback, who will be at the game working as an analyst for NBC Sports and has enjoyed a friendship with Brady dating back to 1999.

Brees captured the record, previously held by Peyton Manning, in 2018 in thrilling fashion — launching a 62-yard touchdown to Tre’Quan Smith at home on Monday Night Football in a 43-19 rout of Washington.

He’s in favor of Brady doing it in similar fashion.

“I’d be all for Brady just launching the first play of the game, just go ahead and get it out of the way,” Brees said, laughing. “You said he needs, what? Sixty-eight yards? Let’s have New England kick it in the end zone, start at the 25 and have him launch one to Mike Evans and let’s just be done with it.

“There’s no doubt I think that’s gonna get knocked down pretty quick. I can’t think of a guy who has invested more into his career and his preparation and kind of what he’s meant for the game. It’s definitely a special record because it speaks to the longevity that he’s been able to experience and the level that he’s been able to play at.”

When Brees broke the record, there was a stoppage of several minutes to recognize his achievement. Teammates gathered to hug him and jumped up and down with excitement as “All-Time Passing Yardage Leader” flashed on the video boards. He took his helmet off and handed the ball to Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker. His wife, Brittany, and their four children were on the sideline in anticipation for the moment, and he hugged them.

But Brees said it will be hard for Brady to truly experience the moment with a game on the line.

“You’re so locked into the game. You really can’t allow yourself to go there too much,” Brees said. “It’s really something that you try to get out of the way emotionally prior to the game. I’ll be honest with you. … I know the way I felt, leading up to games like this, whether it was playing an old team or chasing a record, I would visualize being in that moment, I would visualize breaking the record, I would visualize everything that was gonna happen.

“I would always get the tears and the emotions out of the way on a Monday or a Tuesday. Like literally cry it out on a Monday or a Tuesday, so that by the time it got to Sunday, it was all about business, it was all about the game, it was all about getting the job done.”

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