Teddy Bridgewater could have been the man in Miami.
The hometown hero.
The face of the franchise in the city he was born and raised.
But Bridgewater never forgets the wisdom Rose Murphy has instilled in him over the years.
One particular lesson from his mom helped Bridgewater make one of the most important decisions of his 26-year-old life earlier this week.
"I’ve always been taught that patience is the key, and for me it’s about longevity," Bridgewater said. "My mom always told me that the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. So I have that mindset that everything will work in my favor. I'm honored and gracious to be in this position I’m in, and I’m looking forward to it."
The position he's in is Drew Brees' backup instead of Miami Dolphins starter.
Bridgewater chose the former over the latter, deciding to spend his Sundays standing on the sideline for a second straight season watching Brees work instead of heading to South Beach and trying to revive his hometown team.
He chose to sign a one-year, $7.25 million contract (with up to $12.5 million in incentives) instead of a two-year deal to head home.
"I think for me, you ultimately play this game to compete and to start," Bridgewater said. "But at the same time, I’m still 26 years old. And the way I look at it is that I’ll have another opportunity to start in this league at some point. So I look at it as this year I get the opportunity to continue to learn from a guy who’s going to be a Hall of Famer and I get to be a part of a team that was a call away from being in the Super Bowl."
He admits it wasn't easy not choosing his hometown, where less than a decade ago he starred at Miami's Northwestern High School.
"It definitely made it a challenge," Bridgewater said. "Everything (at home) is convenient. But at the same time, home is always home. A community that welcomes me with open arms respects any decision I make, very supportive. It was tough, but at the end of the day they respect my decision."
So now Bridgewater returns to New Orleans for a second year. In his first season with the Saints, his biggest highlight was his Bike Life dance to the rap song "Choppa Style" in the locker room.
Bridgewater's on-the-field highlights were scarce. He threw just 23 passes all season. His only start came against the Carolina Panthers in the meaningless regular-season finale after the Saints had locked up the No. 1 seed and homefield advantage in the NFC. He completed 14 of 22 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown, but it was hard to get a good evaluation on him. He was playing mostly with backups and spent much of the first half having to make sure Michael Thomas became the franchise's all-time leader in receiving yards.
He's looking forward to Year 2, especially since he gets to go through an entire offseason with the Saints this time around. He didn't get that opportunity last year. He didn't arrive in New Orleans until late August when the Saints traded with the New York Jets.
"Learning on the fly," he calls his first season.
Bridgewater , who could be Brees' successor one day, wouldn't discuss his long-term plans. He's only focusing on this upcoming season with the team he shunned his hometown team for.
"When you look at what this offense has done over the past decade, everything is right there," Bridgewater said. "It’s a proven offense, a proven staff, and of course it didn’t just happen by just rolling the ball out there. You’ve got to put the work in. And I look forward to the opportunity to continue to work with this staff, continue to work with a guy like Drew and learn from him and get a full spring to pick his brain and ask questions."
A quarterback who started 28 games during his playing days with the Minnesota Vikings before suffering a serious knee injuries will continue to play the waiting game instead of playing in the real games.
Not that he minds one bit.
If he did, he would have chosen the Dolphins this week.
But he didn't.
"Eventually my time will come that I can start," he said.