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Drew Brees named Sports Illustrated's sportsman of the year

November 30, 2010 |  9:40 am

Brees_300 Drew Brees took a franchise that had been a punch line for most of its existence to the highest level of success in the NFL. He also embraced a city that was devastated by one worst natural disasters in U.S. history and helped it on the road to recovery.

For his achievements on and off the field, the New Orleans Saints quarterback is Sports Illustrated's sportsman of the year, the magazine announced Tuesday on the "Today" show. He is the 57th recipient of the award and the fifth quarterback to be given the honor.

"The more that I've learned about the award and that it goes well beyond what you accomplish on the field, that it's very much about what you do off the field as well, with community service and your family, makes the award even more special to me," Brees said.

Brees, who led the Saints to their first Super Bowl title in February, came to New Orleans just months after Hurricane Katrina in 2006. He and his wife, Brittany, have been deeply involved in the community and its recovery efforts. According to the magazine's cover story on Brees, his foundation has helped raise more than $6 million, primarily in and around New Orleans.

"It was a calling,'' Brees said. "We were brought here for a reason.''


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-- Chuck Schilken

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Photo credit: PRNewsFoto / Sports Illustrated