Drew Brees's time playing the game of football is almost done, but, if his new venture takes off, his time impacting the game may just be beginning.
Brees and his agent Chris Stuart have partnered to found a co-ed youth flag football league in New Orleans and southern Louisiana beginning this fall, with hopes of taking the league wider in 2018 and, hopefully, nationwide.
The Football 'N' America League, Brees believes, can introduce kids to the best part of football while avoiding the violence inherent in older versions of the game at a time when the Saints quarterback believes his four children -- the oldest being 8-year-old son Baylen -- are too young to play tackle football.
"So how can I still allow them to enjoy the game and learn about the game and develop a passion for the game and enjoy everything it has to offer? Well, flag football," Brees told ESPN's Mike Triplett. "I think that flag football is the perfect alternative to the parents who have concerns about concussions and the injuries around football. Because you're still able to enjoy the game of football, but in a very fun, safe and yet competitive environment. And you can still learn all the same life lessons and values from a game of flag as you would tackle."
Brees believes the FNA League will mirror older versions of the game in that it will become a cultural cornerstone, one which families and communities can gather around.
Brees and Stuart said they researched flag football and saw that void because they found there wasn't a lot of uniformity in youth leagues across the country. They also said they would also like to help create the type of family and community environment where games are a big event on Thursday or Friday night, followed by families going out for pizza together -- or heading to the big high school game later that night.
Stuart and Brees have worked together on dozens of community and off-the-field projects during Brees' career, including community projects that led to Brees being named the NFL's Man of the Year. Stuart said they're as passionate about this project as any other.
Any effort to get kids involved in football at a young age is to be celebrated and encouraged. As those kids mature, we recommend USA Football's Rookie Tackle as the proper way to introduce tackling to football.