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College Football

Drew Brees, Tom Brady reminisce about their 1999 Big Ten battle

Drew Brees and Tom Brady will square off Sunday when the New Orleans Saints host the New England Patriots at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

While the two of course went on to careers worthy of canonization in Canton one day, the veteran signal-callers actually go “way back,” as Brees put it, to a Big Ten battle in 1999 between Brees’ Purdue Boilermakers and Brady’s Michigan Wolverines.

Brees took some time this week to reminisce about their battle on the college football gridiron way back when.

“For me, standing on the sideline across from him, to me it was obviously Brady’s team,” Brees recalled of the match-up, via ESPN. “And yet he had to share time with this freshman [quarterback Drew Henson]. And yet, man, his approach and his discipline during that time … he played at such a high level, but he just worried about what he controlled.

“But I think that that probably shaped and molded a lot about him. A little bit of a chip on his shoulder, which has obviously served him well. And just a mental discipline and a mental toughness that’s unmatched.”

Brady also weighed in on the game all that time ago in Ann Arbor this week.

“We played ’em, maybe my senior year in the Big House, and we beat ’em,” Brady said this week. “He was really in a fun offense to watch. Joe Tiller was a great [coach]. My roommate [when I first got to the Patriots] actually played with Drew — Dave Nugent — and he had so many great things to say about him. And I just loved watching Drew play even back then. And what he’s done in the NFL and how prolific he’s been and how incredible their offenses have been, it’s really incredible.

“I have so much respect for him and everything he’s accomplished, everything that he brings to the table at the quarterback position.”

It’s clear the two quarterbacks form their own a mutual admiration society, and rightly so.

And just to clarify, Brady and the Wolverines blasted Brees’ Boilermakers in the game by a score of 38-12. Although Brees has bested Brady in four head-to-head battles in the NFL, winning three of them.

Perhaps the two will do even more reminiscing following Sunday’s game.