Saints quarterback Jameis Winston shared an emotional response on Tuesday when asked about the impact Drew Brees had on him last season.
Winston, who signed a one-year deal with the Saints last offseason and recently re-signed with the team on another one-year deal, said Brees holds a special place for him.
"For him to put his arm around me and give me any encouraging words after I saw the resilience, the passion, the way that he approached every single day. For that to even be a story, I was touched by that," Winston said. "Because he doesn't even know how much he means to me and my family, for real."
Winston attempted just 11 regular-season passes for the Saints last season, though he threw a touchdown in New Orleans' eventual second-round playoff loss to the Buccaneers.
The 27-year-old Winston, who started the first five seasons of his career for Tampa Bay, could again be in line for a starting role following Brees's retirement.
Winston is expected to battle Taysom Hill for the starting quarterback spot in New Orleans after Hill signed a four-year extension with the team. Hill started four games last year while Brees was out with multiple injuries, going 3-1 in that span.
"I love football. That's all I've done my entire life," Winston said. "And someone that I look up to, that I admire, that I actually could touch was my teammate, and I had the chance to serve him. I'm speechless.
"That really gets me emotional because I really love Drew Brees. I don't think he understands. I know my wife do. I know my family do. But y'all don't understand the impact that him and a lot of other quarterbacks had on me as a quarterback growing up in Bessemer, Ala."