Brees played 20 seasons in the NFL, 15 of those with the Saints. Brees was drafted out of Purdue University in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers (now the 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 book with 571 passing touchdowns.
In 2010, Brees led the Saints to a win in Super Bowl XLIV and was named Most Valuable Player in that game.
In his retirement announcement Brees said, “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. 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.”
He added: “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’s 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 in second place behind Brees in all-time passing yards and completions, passed along his congratulations on Twitter.
“Congrats my friend on an incredible career. Thank you for the inspiration and dedication on and off the field! Look forward to seeing what’s next @drewbrees,” Brady wrote.