On the 15th anniversary of signing with the New Orleans Saints, Drew Brees announced that he would be hanging up the cleats in a post on Instagram.
“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. Each day, I poured my heart & soul into being your Quarterback.” Brees said in the caption on Instagram. “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.”
Brees, 42, retires as the NFL’s all-time leader in career passing yards (80,358) and ranks second all-time in touchdown passes (571) and completion percentage (67.7%). More than that, though, Brees will always be revered for helping to revive the Saints’ franchise and the city of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina when he and coach Sean Payton arrived together in 2006.
In his first season with the black and gold, he led them to the NFC Championship game for the first time in franchise history and just three years later helped give the Saints their first Super Bowl.
“Drew is so much more valuable than all the records, awards and accolades that he amassed through a 15-year career with the New Orleans Saints and 20-year NFL playing career, one of the greatest in our league’s history,” Owner Gayle Benson said in a statement released by the Saints. “When Drew first joined the Saints in 2006, my late husband Tom was determined to deliver a team to New Orleans that would win a championship on the field and become a leader in the community following the setbacks that Hurricane Katrina dealt our region. Over and above his outstanding performance, Drew came to represent the resolve, passion and drive that resonates not only with Saints fans and football fans, but our entire community. He played the game and played the position at its highest level, but just as important, represented our organization and region in the highest fashion. We will forever be grateful to him for what he brought to our club and the entire Gulf South community, showing everybody what can be accomplished by putting our sleeves up and showing leadership, determination and hard work. As we grew as a region and as a football team, it was also a pleasure to watch him grow as a husband to Brittany and become a father to four incredible children.”
Brees has already lined up his “next chapter” last year, when he agreed to become an analyst for NBC after his playing days were over.
“My goal for the last 15 years was striving to give to you everything you had given to me and more.” Brees mentioned, “I am only retiring from playing football, I am not retiring from New Orleans. This is not goodbye, rather a new beginning. Now my real life‘s work begins!”