After 20 years as an NFL Quarterback, including the last 15 with the New Orleans Saints, Drew Brees announced his retirement from the NFL. The announcement came on Sunday in the form of an Instagram post featuring his four children.
Brees’ daughter Rylen and his three sons Bown, Baylen, and Callen took turns delivering parts of his message.
“After 15 years in the Saints, and 20 years in the NFL, our Dad is finally retiring, so he can spend more time with us,” the children sounded off.
Now, the league must say goodbye to one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
One of the GOATs
Brees’ announcement comes only months after fellow veteran QB Philip Rivers announced his own retirement.
The one-time SuperBowl Champion is undeniably one of the greatest football players in the history of the game.
Brees retires with the most career passing yards in NFL history. He also has the most career completions in NFL history and the best completion percentage in NFL history. Brees is also currently second in most career passing touchdowns in NFL history.
After winning SuperBowl XLIV (46), he was named SuperBowl MVP.
Among his countless League records is most consecutive games with a touchdown pass. He has completed the most passes in a single season, as well as the highest single-season completion percentage.
He also has the most career season with 5,000 passing yards. He is also currently the fastest player in NFL history to 50,000, 60,000, 70,000, and 80,000 career passing yards. In fact, no other player has ever hit 80,000 passing yards before.
More than his statistics, though, was Brees’ love of the game. Game in and game out, his passion was constantly evident and forever unmatched.
His powerful pregame speeches had fans and players alike ready to run through brick walls for him. With a team and a city at his back, he gave his all in every single game. His career has, and will, become the stuff of legend.
Early Years in the League
After getting only two D1 offers out of highschool, Brees chose to play for the Purdue Boilermakers.
Following four stellar years with Purdue, the San Diego Chargers selected Brees with the first pick in the second round of the NFL draft.
He spent the first three seasons of his career trading the starting position with Doug Flutie. He led the Chargers to a 12-4 record in 2004, and won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
Injury and the Saints
In the final game of the 2005 season, the course of NFL history was changed. While trying to recover his own fumble, Brees took a hard hit. The hit tore the labrum in Brees’ right shoulder.
Even after surgery, questions surrounding Brees’ health remained common. In the offseason, he declined a largely non-guaranteed deal from the Chargers. Instead, he signed with the Saints.
Four years later, he would bring a SuperBowl to New Orleans.
Fifteen years since he inked his first deal with the team, Brees will go down as the greatest QB in Saints history. He holds the Saints records for nearly every relevant passing category. Those include games played, passing yards, and passing touchdowns.
Twelve of his 13 ProBowl selections game as a member of the Saints. He also received both of his NFL offensive POTY awards as a Saint. Even with all of these honors, the 2006 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award may be the crowning jewel.
Brees Says Goodbye
Earlier today, the Saints’ Twitter account posted a 3 minute, 41 second long video. The video contained Brees’ message “to NOLA”.
“To the city of New Orleans and the ‘who dat’ nation, words cannot express the love and appreciate I have for you,” Brees’ message started. “You told me that if I loved New Orleans, you would love me back, no truer words have ever been spoken.”
The 42-year-old teared up as he read off his message.
“It was your passion, emotion, and resiliance, that made us all believe,” Brees continued. “I will spend the rest of my life attempting to give back to you what you have given to me.”
He went on to give an ode to the “the Saints organization, Gayle Benson, and the late Tom Benson.”
“I recognize the chance you took when signing me on March 14, 2006,” Brees said. “I worked every day to prove you right.”
His coaches and teammates were next. “Most importantly, the really successful teams in any arena, are the ones who love each other the most,” Brees said. “When things get tough, which they always do, sometimes the only thing you have to fall back on, is the love of those around you.”
Brees then praised his head coach Sean Payton, and Saints General Manager Micky Loomis.
“For 15 years, our relationship grew past that of player-coach, and player-GM,” Brees said. “I’ve watched your children grow, and you’ve watched mine.”
He then specified the training staff, equipment staff, and the ‘unsung heroes’, “we could not do this without you.”
He ended his message with what has been the centerpiece of his life off of the field. His family. He thanked his late mother and father, his wife Brittnay, and his four children.
“I played for my city, my team, and all those who believed in me, but I also played for you,” Brees said. “God bless you all, and here’s to the next chapter.”