NEW ORLEANS -- Aaron Brooks' days as a New Orleans Saints
quarterback, which effectively ended with the team's 3-13 season,
officially ended Wednesday when he was unceremoniously released by
He was released on the same day the Saints introduced Drew Brees
as their new starting quarterback.
Brooks endured his worst season in 2005, throwing for only 13
touchdowns and 17 interceptions before being benched with three
games remaining in the regular season.
While the Saints were usually mired in mediocrity while he was a
starter, causing his popularity with fans to waiver, his name is
now prominent in the club record books.
After Jeff Blake suffered a season-ending injury in the 11th
game of the 2000 season, Brooks came in and went on to start 82
consecutive regular season games, now one of the records he holds.
He led the Saints to their only playoff victory in club history in
He threw for more than 20 touchdowns and 3,500 yards in each of
the ensuing four seasons -- the best streaks in either category in
club history. And last season he reached 120 career touchdown
passes with the Saints, surpassing the old club record of 115 held
by Archie Manning.
Against Denver in December of the 2000 season, Brooks threw for
441 yards, the highest single-game total in Saints history. He also
was the only Saints quarterback ever to rush for more than 100
yards, although he generally resisted the urge to become a running
quarterback like his cousin, Michael Vick.
As good as he was, he may end up most remembered in New Orleans
for his untimely interceptions, fumbles and botched plays, like
when he tried to avoid being sacked by throwing an inaccurate
backwards pass to unexpecting lineman Wayne Gandy in a lopsided
loss to San Diego in 2004. Deuce McAllister ended up chasing it
down and falling on it for a huge loss.
The moment will overshadow some extraordinary moments that
Brooks took part in, such as the thrilling "River City Relay,"
the multiple-lateral touchdown at the end of regulation in a game
at Jacksonville in December 2003.
Brooks threw the initial pass to Donte Stallworth, then ran down
field to throw a block that helped spring Jerome Pathon for what
could have been the game-tying touchdown at the end of the play.
However, John Carney missed the extra point and the Saints lost
Brooks, who turns 30 this month, is now a free agent.