After a 20-year career, and a majority of that time with the New Orleans Saints, quarterback Drew Brees has announced that he will be retiring from the NFL.
Brees, 42, broke the news on Sunday on social media with a heartfelt post that reflected on his two decades in the league.
“After 20 years as a player in the NFL and 15 years as a Saint, it is time I retire from the game of football,” he said video featuring his kids who helped reveal the news.
“Each day, I poured my heart & soul into being your Quarterback,” he continued. “Til the very end, I exhausted myself to give everything I had to the Saints organization, my team, and the great city of New Orleans. We shared some amazing moments together, many of which are emblazoned in our hearts and minds and will forever be a part of us. You have molded me, strengthened me, inspired me, and given me a lifetime of memories.”
Brees retires as the NFL’s all-time leader for passing yards with 80,358, and second behind Tom Brady for touchdowns with 571.
“My goal for the last 15 years was striving to give to you everything you had given to me and more,” he concluded in his caption on Sunday. “I am only retiring from playing football, I am not retiring from New Orleans. This is not goodbye, rather a new beginning.”
Brees, a three-year starter at Purdue, broke multiple Big Ten Conference records before starting his career with the San Diego Chargers.
After his time in the AFC West, Brees signed with New Orleans in 2005. The city that adopted him was the same city he gave his heart to. The quarterback came to NOLA at a time when he was needed the most in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He and coach Sean Payton arrived together in 2006.
Brees remained with the Saints until his retirement. During his time in New Orleans, he had 14 record-setting seasons, which included a Super Bowl win in 2010 over Peyton Manning and the heavily-favored Indianapolis Colts.
Throughout the years, he’s been decorated with a variety of awards, including the Super Bowl MVP and Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year in 2010.
In addition to his work on the field, Brees is known for giving back to the community. He and his wife, Brittany, announced last March that they would be donating $5 million to various charities that would prepare and deliver 10,000 meals daily throughout Louisiana to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brees’ legacy will be remembered as one of the most prolific passers in NFL history. He threw for 5,000+ yards in five different seasons. No other quarterback has done it more than once. On top of that, Brees holds the top three single-season completion percentages in NFL history, and six of the top ten.
The “next chapter” for Brees will include analyst work for NBC Sports, which he agreed to last year.