NEW YORK -- Drew Brees was honored as Sports Illustrated's sportsman of the year for his championship on the field and his charity off it.
But the cover story notes he's done much more than inspire with his brilliant play. Since Brees joined the Saints in 2006 months after Hurricane Katrina, his foundation has worked with nearly 50 New Orleans schools and organizations to aid in recovery.
"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.
Sports Illustrated Group editor Terry McDonell said he had been "determined not to be a slave to a calendar" in considering NFL players, even though it might seem like an eternity between the Super Bowl and the announcement of the award. But Brees' contributions outside of football made this selection easy.
"It's year-round for him," McDonell said.
Brees will be recognized at a ceremony in New York on Tuesday with past winners including Bill Russell, Curt Schilling and Montana.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press