Brees played 20 seasons in the NFL, including 15 with the Saints. Brees was drafted to Purdue University in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers (now Los Angeles Chargers), where he played five seasons.
The 42-year-old retires as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, with 80,358 yards, and completions, with 7,142. Brees is second in the NFL record books with 571 touchdowns.
In 2010, Brees led the Saints to a Super Bowl XLIV victory and was named that game’s MVP.
In announcing his retirement, Brees said: “After 20 years as an NFL player and 15 years as a Saint, it is time for me to retire from football. Every day I dedicate my heart and my soul to be your quarterback. At the very end, I exhausted myself to give all I had to the Saints organization, to my team and to the great city of New Orleans. “
He added: “I’m only retiring from football, I’m not retiring from New Orleans. It’s not a farewell, but rather a new start. Now my real life’s work begins!”
Brees’ four children helped him make the announcement, saying in a video that he was retiring to spend more time with them.
Tom Brady, who sits second behind Brees in yards and all-time completes, sent his congratulations on Twitter.
“Kudos to my friend on an incredible career. Thanks for the inspiration and dedication on and off the pitch! I can’t wait to see what comes next @drewbrees,” Brady wrote.
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