Country crooner Kenny Chesney is taking his career in a whole new direction -- he's playing for the NFL's New Orleans Saints. OK, so he's not exactly going to be catching passes from Drew Brees on 'Monday Night Football,' but the 5'6" former wide receiver from Luttrell, Tennessee's Gibbs High School will practice with the team as a free agent tomorrow, the day before the Saints pre-season game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

"I first met Sean Payton when he was the assistant coach of the Dallas Cowboys -- he came out to a show," Chesney explains of his relationship with the Saints' head coach. "Over the years, we'd become really good friends, because there's a mutual respect for what the other one does ... He's told me he loves how driven and focused I am about what I do; he loves the intensity I have when I'm onstage ... and how passionate I am about what he does, too."

Still, Chesney is a little weary that the confidence he has at concerts may not transfer to the field, admitting he was "probably the slowest receiver in the history of the (Gibbs High School) team ... and it was a mediocre team." But, he is confident the work ethics he learned in high school still resonate today.

"I learned how to really work playing high school football, 'cause you can't play it at any level and not be focused. If you do it halfway, you'll get hurt. You gotta go full-speed all the time... that's just the way it is, and it set me up for life."

So what if Chesney, who's in the middle of the highest-attended country tour of the year right now, makes the cut on Friday?

"If I make the team ... well, I'm gonna have to figure out how to get them to let me join 'em in mid-September, after my album comes out."