NEW ORLEANS (NewsNation Now) — Record-setting Saints quarterback Drew Brees has announced his retirement after 20 seasons in the NFL.
He made the announcement Sunday in a video posted to Instagram.
“After 20 years as a player in the NFL and 15 years as a Saint, it is time to retire from the game of football,” he said in the video.
The 42-year-old Brees is the NFL’s all-time leader with 80,358 career passing yards and 7,142 completions. His 571 touchdowns rank second to Tom Brady’s 581.
Brees spent the past 15 seasons (2006-20) with the Saints after playing his first five campaigns with the San Diego Chargers. He was a 13-time Pro Bowl selection.
Brees led New Orleans to its lone Super Bowl championship following the 2009 season.
“I am only retiring from playing football, I am not retiring from New Orleans,” Brees added. “This is not goodbye, rather a new beginning. Now my real life‘s work begins!”
While Brees had dropped hints about his intentions, saying he considered himself to be on “borrowed time,” he declined to confirm his plans until now.
His retirement brings an end to a career that came to embody resilience and renewal on multiple levels.
Brees’ most prolific seasons came after he underwent major reconstructive surgery in early 2006 to repair a career-threatening throwing shoulder injury.
He joined the Saints shortly after, at a time when New Orleans was still coping with widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. When Brees moved to New Orleans, he bought and renovated a historic home in the city’s Uptown neighborhood, just a block away from Audubon Park.
The storm had forced the Saints to play all of their 2005 games outside New Orleans, and the Saints finished that season 3-13.
One season later, with then-first-year coach Sean Payton calling plays and Brees executing them, the Saints won 10 regular-season games and a divisional-round playoff game in a rebuilt Superdome — a storybook run that didn’t end until a loss in Chicago in New Orleans’ first ever NFC championship game. That would be the first of nine seasons in which Brees led the Saints to the playoffs.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.