NASHVILLE – At the end of Sunday's Titans-Saints game, a special moment took place between Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard and Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
It also involved Ashante Woodyard, Wesley's older cousin who was teammates with Brees at Purdue back in 2000.
On Sunday, roughly twenty years later at Nissan Stadium, they were all reunited in a moment that brought back some great memories for all of them.
"I idolized Drew growing up," Woodyard said. "I kept his autograph throughout my high school years in my sock and underwear drawer. It was the first thing I would see when I'd wake up in the morning. I'd see his signature every time I opened that drawer and I would think: This is my motivation to get to be great, and my motivation to get to the NFL."
Ashante Woodyard, a defensive back at Purdue, was also a source of motivation. And he's the reason Woodyard first met Brees on the campus at Purdue.
Woodyard, a rising high school sophomore, went to train with his cousin in West Lafayette, Indiana. He happened to run into Brees in the parking lot on campus one day and he shook his hand and got his autograph.
Woodyard, in his 12th NFL season, had faced Brees, in his 19th NFL season, previously in the NFL before Sunday's game at Nissan Stadium.
But Sunday was special because Ashante was at the game, and when it ended Brees followed Wesley Woodyard over to the Titans sideline to see his former teammate. Ashante came down to the front row for the reunion.
"It was a cool moment," Woodyard said. "I've played a lot of times against Drew, but that's not where our friendship began. It began way back in 2000 when I was a Boilermaker fan, and a Drew Brees fan.
"What happened on Sunday, it was a moment that came full circle, to see those guys share a little love. And that is what the game is about. Drew is a guy I idolized, and he's just as down to earth as any guy that is in the NFL. He's a very special person and he has a special place in my heart. So to get a chance to compete against him and share the love, that's special."