New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees on shooting death of Will Smith: ‘Something’s been broken here’ _lowres

Former New Orleans Saints football player Steve Gleason walks off the field with the help of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) and New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith (91) before the first half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Add Drew Brees among those who considered Will Smith to be a cornerstone of the Saints’ franchise.

In an interview with TheMMQB.com’s Peter King, the Saints quarterback discussed what Smith, who shot to death Saturday night, meant to the city.

On Smith as a teammate: “Tough, so tough. A Saint through and through. Sean cleaned house, and Will stayed. I always thought there was nothing more I’d ever want from a teammate than what Will brought every day. He really was the cornerstone of our team. Will could always reference what it was like before we got there. His wisdom was so welcome. Not a rah-rah guy, but a guy you’d rely on every day. I would engage him, and he’d smile, and he would always be like, ‘We’re in this together.’”

On if Smith would be dead if the shooter knew who he was: “I wonder. A lot’s been written about the bond between the team and the city, and what a special time it’s been over the past decade. If the guy knew this was a star of the Saints, who knows? Does he change his mind? Does he walk away? Does he put his gun down? Not to trivialize this—at all. But does he say, Hey, I grew up here. I love this city. Does he walk away? Maybe. But now, something’s been broken here.”

Brees also talked about how the level of violence in the city has caused people to become desensitized to it.

Read King’s full report about Smith’s death and more from Brees here.