LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees got a little help from his friends Thursday at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports.
No, it wasn't Mickey, Donald or Goofy lending thier expertise to the second annual Drew Brees Passing Academy and 7-on-7 Tournament, but rather Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Philadelphia running back Darren Sproles and New England cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Brees and his cohorts welcomed some 350 high school players from 24 teams and four states to the three-day camp that, according to its namesake, seeks to offer skilled instruction from professional players, a competitive 7-on-7 passing tournament and a chance to “enjoy the most magical place on earth.”
“I was one of these kids once, hoping that I would have the opportunity to work with an NFL player at my sport or come to a place like Disney World and experience all of this, so it’s really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Brees said.
Brees demonstrated everything from stretching to a five-step drop and how to read defenses.
Clearly, the attendees benefit from the close personal tutelage they receive from the pros, a fact that didn't escape Fitzgerald.
“I wouldn’t be where I’m at if it wasn’t for the tutelage of so many guys that came before me,” he said. “From Chris Carter to Randy Moss to the John Randles, the Kirby Pucketts, the Kevin Garnetts, all the guys that helped me along the way, helped me realize my dream.
“I want to make sure I’m doing that same thing for the following generation.”
While the high school players and professionals surely enjoyed the world-class facilities and vast entertainment possibilities, there was one attraction, above all else, that drew them to the Magic Kindom.
“Drew Brees is what makes the difference,” Fitzgerald said. “You can’t ask for a better human being, standing for the right things. Set aside his Hall of Fame credentials, Super Bowl championships, I mean Drew Brees is everything you see on TV. He is that guy. It’s a testament to him for putting together a camp like this for so many kids.
Brees said the 7-on-7 tournament, which kicks off Friday and concludes Saturday, allows the kids the opportunity to see how they stack up against competition from around the country.
Yet, what does he want the kids to take away from the experience?
“We want these kids to walk away better than they were when they first got here in regards to their skill, their craft, their position within the realm of football,” he said.
“We want these kids to walk away from this saying, ‘that was one of the most fun things I’ve ever had a chance to do.’ ”