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Boilermakers for Brees

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is seen in a video camera as he answers a question during media day for NFL football Super Bowl XLIV Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010, in Miami. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) Photo Credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Plenty has been made about Peyton Manning's connection to New Orleans, but what about Drew Brees' connection to Indianapolis?

Brees quarterbacked Purdue (which is in West Lafayette, Ind., just 65 miles from downtown Indianapolis) to the 2001 Rose Bowl, its first appearance in 34 years, and left the school as the Big Ten record holder in passing yards, touchdown passes and completions. He was third in the Heisman voting his senior year.

So, suffice it to say, he still has plenty of fans in the greater Indianapolis area.

"Around here, Drew Brees kind of walks on water," said Kevin Green, a Purdue graduate who works at the university, to the Indianapolis Star. "He was the quarterback who led us back to the Rose Bowl, so he can do no wrong in the area. We know that he cares about here and we care about him. That's why most of the people around here are kind of conflicted."

Brees also donated $2 million to Purdue in 2007 for the Drew and Brittany Brees Student-Athlete Academic Center.

Said men's basketball coach Matt Painter (no relation to Colts backup and Purdue alum Curtis Painter) : "He's just been a great ambassador for Purdue University. We can't thank him enough for what he's done for our athletic department. Very rarely do you have a guy that gives that much."

The day before Purdue's game against Ohio State this past season, Brees texted quarterback Joey Elliot to "shock the world." The Boilermakers defeated the No. 7 Buckeyes, 26-18.

Steve Schaffner, a Purdue graduate student who attended the 2001 Rose Bowl, summed up the locals' feelings best.

"I've watched Super Bowls where I've said I wish they both could lose," he said. "This one, I wish both could win."

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