Saints quarterback Drew Brees announced his retirement on Sunday after one of the most decorated careers in NFL history.
Brees, 42, retires as the all-time leader in passing yards and completions. He led the Saints to their only Super Bowl in franchise history, a 31–17 win over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
“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,” Brees wrote on Instagram on Sunday. “Each day, I poured my heart & soul into being your Quarterback. 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. My goal for the last 15 years was striving to give to you everything you had given to me and more. 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 logged 58 starts for the Chargers from 2002–05 before signing a free-agent contract with the Saints before the 2006 season. He then went on one of the most dominant runs of any quarterback in NFL history, leading the league in passing yards seven times over the last 15 seasons. Brees posted a 142–86 record with the Saints, and he tossed 35 playoff touchdowns in 17 postseason starts.
The Purdue product logged just 23 starts in his final two seasons as he dealt with a smattering of injuries. Brees fractured 11 ribs and suffered a collapse lung during the 2020 season, leading to the worst yards-per-attempt in any of his 15 seasons with the Saints. Brees’s career ended with a loss to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in the divisional round in January.
Brees earned 13 Pro Bowl appearances in his 20-year career. He was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year following the 2006 season.