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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Drew Brees announces retirement after 20 NFL seasons

Drew Brees announces retirement after 20 NFL seasons

Drew Brees retires after 20 seasons
Publish Date: 03/14/2021
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

After 20 seasons in the NFL and 15 with the New Orleans Saints, Drew Brees is hanging his cleats up. The 42-year-old former Super Bowl MVP took to Instagram on Sunday, posting a video of his four kids making the announcement. Brees retires as the NFLโ€™s all-time leader in passing yards with 80,358. When he entered the league in 2001, the record was 61,361.

In the Instagram postโ€™s caption, Brees wrote, โ€œAfter 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. 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.โ€

โ€œWe shared some amazing moments together, many of which are emblazoned in our hearts and minds and will forever be a part of us,โ€ Brees continued. โ€œYou 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.โ€

โ€œI am only retiring from playing football, I am not retiring from New Orleans. This is not goodbye, rather a new beginning. Now my real lifeโ€˜s work begins!โ€

Breesโ€™ retirement comes 15 years to the day since he signed with the Saints. In 2006, the Purdue product joined first-year head coach Sean Payton in New Orleans after undergoing surgery for a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The San Diego Chargers, who drafted Brees in the second-round of 2001, went with Philip Rivers over franchising the former Boilermaker. The Miami Dolphins also passed on Brees in 2006 because of the injury.

During his extended stay in New Orleans, Brees won seven passing titles, led the Saints to the playoffs nine times, and won Super Bowl XLIV over Peyton Manningโ€™s Indianapolis Colts. While he never won a regular season MVP, Brees was the Offensive Player of the Year twice. His 98.7 passer rating is fifth all-time, and his 67.7 completion percentage ranks second, narrowly trailing Deshaun Watsonโ€™s 67.8%.

The Saints will keep Brees on the active roster until June 1, when theyโ€™ll move him to the reserve/retired list. Per NFL Networkโ€™s Tom Pelissero, the future Hall of Famer will count for $12.225 million against the cap this season. He carries an $11.15 million dead cap hit in 2021 and counts for $11.5 million in dead cap in 2022.

Payton released a statement following Breesโ€™ announcement. The head coach praised his longtime running mate, writing, โ€œHe 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 out privilege, we are better for it.โ€

โ€œI am forever grateful for what he has done for our team, our community and for me personally.โ€

Brees becomes eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2026.

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