One of the most prolific careers in NFL history has come to an end, as New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, with the help of his children, announced his retirement with a video on Instagram on Sunday.
“This is not goodbye, rather a new beginning. Now my real life‘s work begins!”
In the video, Brees’ children said, “After 15 years with the Saints and 20 years in the NFL, our dad is finally gonna retire. So he can spend more time with us! Yeah!!”
In his IG post, Brees captioned:
“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. To the very end, I exhausted myself to give everything I had to the Saints organization, my team, and the great city of New Orleans.”
Added to that,
“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. My goal for the last 15 years was to strive to give to you everything you had given to me and more.”
Lastly, Brees assured his fans that this was not the final goodbye.
“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!”
Brees retired at the age of 42, throwing for a league-record 80,358 yards in 20 seasons, and he’s second all-time with 571 touchdown passes.
Brees beat long odds
Drew Brees started his career with the Chargers and for the first few years. He didn’t look like one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. That’s what led the Chargers to draft Rivers in the first round of the 2004 draft, after Brees’ third season.
Brees kept Rivers on the bench for a couple of years. He made a Pro Bowl in 2004.
The Chargers were set to face a tough decision after the 2005 season, with Brees, set to be a free agent, but Brees dislocated his right throwing shoulder in the season finale. He tore his labrum and suffered a partial tear of the rotator cuff.
There were questions if he’d ever been an effective quarterback again. The Miami Dolphins, with Nick Saban as head coach, famously passed on signing him due to the shoulder injury.
Brees lasted 15 more years. The Saints will always be grateful for that.
When Brees signed with the Saints, the franchise had just one playoff win in its history. At the end of the 2005 season, the Saints were looking into moving to San Antonio. Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans hard in 2005, further clouding the future of the franchise.
When Brees signed, he immediately immersed himself in the community and the Katrina recovery efforts. And on the field, Drew Brees helped save the Saints in New Orleans.
The Saints started winning when Brees got there. He took the Saints to an NFC championship game in his second season there. Then the Saints franchise, and the perception of it, changed forever during the 2009 season.
Brees brings New Orleans a Super Bowl
In 2009, Brees had a great season as the Saints went 13-3. They beat the Minnesota Vikings in a thrilling NFC championship game and then knocked off the Indianapolis Colts to win Super Bowl XLIV. After then, Brees was named Super Bowl MVP.
Brees put up some great numbers over the next decade. He had five 5,000-yard seasons and held the single-season passing yardage record until 2013 when Peyton Manning broke it.
Brees led the NFL in passing seven times. He made 13 Pro Bowls. He broke records for career passing yards and passing touchdowns.
Brees led another Saints revitalization late in his career. The Saints were one of the best teams in the NFL over each of Brees’ final four seasons but couldn’t get back to a Super Bowl, suffering some of the most heartbreaking losses in NFL playoff history along the way. Brees’ final game was a playoff loss to Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brees, playing just a few weeks after breaking 11 ribs, threw three interceptions. His final NFL pass was deflected and intercepted.
New Orleans Saints reacting to Drew Brees retirement
Saints head coach Sean Payton said: “Throughout his career, his consistency and dedication to excellence were unparalleled.
“He was a magnificent leader both on and off the field. His attention to detail and competitive spirit were infectious.
“For all of us that have had the chance to coach him, it has been our privilege, we are better for it.”
You came to us at our lowest point.
You led us to our highest.
You represented our state, city, and team with incredible professionalism, class, and toughness.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) March 14, 2021
NFL world reacts to Drew Brees announcing his retirement
Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and various other stars showed love to Brees after retiring.
Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and other stars show love to Brees after retiring ? pic.twitter.com/xp5nGf1QWx
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 15, 2021