NFL Notebook: Brees helps out
BY Associated Press
Sunday, November 25, 2012
11/25/12 at 6:59 AM
Saints quarterback Drew Brees doesn't expect to become as popular in the land of the Jets and Giants as he is in New Orleans, but he's providing the region devastated by superstorm Sandy an example of the community activism that has made him revered in the Big Easy.
The Brees Dream Foundation is donating $1 million toward recovery from Sandy. In New Orleans, his foundation has helped rebuild schools, playgrounds and athletic fields that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in August 2005, less than a year before Brees joined the Saints as a free agent.
"Obviously, we know the type of devastation that a hurricane like that can cause," Brees said. "Being here six months after Katrina and the length of time it's taken to get things back here and then also to watch (Hurricane) Gustav come through here and (Hurricane) Isaac, we can only imagine the devastation and the way that it's changed people's lives up there. I know they have a long road ahead of them. Certainly they can use all the help they can get. It's something we felt compelled to do as a foundation."
Extra motivation: Titans right guard Deuce Lutui has some extra motivation when Tennessee visits Jacksonville on Sunday that doesn't involve football. The veteran is playing for Sgt. Jacob M. Schwallie of Clarksville, Tenn.
Lutui was flying back to Nashville on Tuesday night from Arizona when Titans fan Tom Schwallie recognized the lineman in first class and gave him a metal bracelet commemorating his son. The black bracelet is engraved with Schwallie's name, the name of the 82nd Airborne Division he served in and May 7, 2012 - the date Jacob Schwallie was killed in action in Afghanistan at age 22.
A father of five himself, Lutui said the man became so emotional that the lineman got up during the flight, crossed the aisle and hugged Schwallie.
"We meet people through God for a reason," Lutui said. "I mean this is just a reminder of how thankful I should be for this Thanksgiving. For him to give up something so close to him, it belonged to his son. It was made for his son. he said, 'You don't have to wear it. Just put it in your locker and let the boys know Jacob was a great fan and he was a great young man and he served in the Army.'"
Soaring Cro: Everything changed for Antonio Cromartie while sitting on a flight home after a game earlier this season.
The New York Jets cornerback was sitting next to teammate and good friend Darrelle Revis, who gave Cromartie a pep talk in which he urged him to become the type of player everyone believed he could be.
"We always talk, but it was a different (kind of) conversation," Cromartie said. "I'm grateful."
Cromartie is having an outstanding season for the Jets, magnified by the fact he has become the team's No. 1 cornerback after Revis was lost for the year with a knee injury at Miami in Week 3. Cromartie has routinely shut down opponents' top receivers.