After 20 years as a star quarterback, Drew Brees has announced that he will be retiring from the NFL.
Brees, 42, broke the news on Sunday on social media, sharing a heartfelt post that reflected on his years in the league.
"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," he said in a caption paired with an adorable video featuring his four kids revealing the news.
"Each day, I poured my heart & soul into being your Quarterback," he continued. "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."
Hoda Kotb, who has a special place in her heart for New Orleans and the Saints, will be exclusively speaking with Brees Monday on TODAY about his decision to retire, and what is next for him.
The timing of his announcement is also very special. According to NBC Sports, it was 15 years ago today that he joined the Saints, after the Miami Dolphins decided not to sign him.
"My goal for the last 15 years was striving to give to you everything you had given to me and more," he concluded in his caption on Sunday. "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 attended Purdue University where he was a three-year starter and broke multiple records in the league, becoming one of the most decorated players in the history of the universally and Big Ten Conference according to Purdue.
Following his success in college, Brees was drafted by the San Diego Chargers where he played until 2005. After his time with the Chargers, he signed with the New Orleans Saints where he remained until his retirement. During his time in New Orleans, Brees had 14 record-setting seasons, which included their only Super Bowl win in 2010 where they defeated the Indianapolis Colts. Throughout the years, he’s been decorated with a variety of awards, including the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award, Best NFL Player ESPY Award, and Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year in 2010.
In addition to this athletic prowess, Brees is known for giving back, especially during the hard times of the pandemic. The legendary quarterback and his wife, Brittany, announced last March that they would be donating $5 million to various charities that would prepare and deliver 10,000 meals daily throughout Louisiana to help those in need during the pandemic.
"We've been through a lot of tough times together, whether it's hurricanes, oil spills, floods, and this is just another one of those bits of adversity that we're gonna come out better on the other side,” Brees told Hoda on TODAY. "We gotta stick together right now, and obviously it may get a little worse before it gets better, but at the end of the day we'll become better because of it."