(Jason Behnken/Associated Press)

Two months after Drew Brees set the record for the most passing yards in NFL history, the longtime New Orleans Saints quarterback sent former teammates balls commemorating the achievement and thanking them for their help along the way.

“I want to personally thank you for everything you did to be part of the record setting moment,” Brees wrote to 174 current and former teammates and coaches who received the gift. “Without your contribution, this milestone would not have happened. Although they only put one name in the record book, I want you to know that I consider you to be an important part of this record.”

Brees told reporters (via ESPN), “I wanted to do something for everybody,” and that he wanted to, “take care of those who take care of me.”

After breaking what was Peyton Manning’s record during a “Monday Night Football” game against the Washington Redskins, Brees originally thought of sending a ball to every player who caught a pass from him, he said.

“And then I started thinking, ‘Well, it’s not just about the receivers, it’s about the guys blocking.’ So it’s like, ‘All right, let’s find every offensive lineman that’s ever started a game,’ ” Brees said. “So we did that. Then I started thinking about coaches, then I started thinking about other people as well. So it was actually a long list. But I just wanted to do that for them.”

The Saints front office and public relations staff helped track people down and verify addresses. The balls were shipped out earlier this week. Among the recipients was James Andrews, the surgeon who operated on Brees’s shoulder in 2006 to repair a torn labrum. The successful procedure opened the door for the Saints to sign him after San Diego didn’t renew his contract in 2005.

“It’s him,” Saints tight end Benjamin Watson, who is in his fifth season playing with Brees, said. “It’s surprising, but it’s not surprising at the same time that he would give a special thanks to the guys that helped him along the way.”

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