The Drew Brees era with the New Orleans Saints—marked by a Super Bowl celebration, raucous record-setting nights in the rebuilt Superdome, and the undersized quarterback’s outsized role in a historic city’s rebirth—has ended. Brees, the NFL’s leader in career completions and yards passing, has decided to retire after 20 NFL seasons, including his last 15 with New Orleans, the AP reports. “Til the very end I exhausted myself to give everything to the Saints organization, my team and the great city of New Orleans,” Brees said in social media post on Sunday, 15 years to the day after he signed with the Saints. “We shared some amazing moments together, many of which are emblazoned in our hearts and minds and will forever be a part of us,” Brees continued. “I am only retiring from football. I am not retiring from New Orleans. This is not goodbye.”
The post also included a short video in which his four young children—the three boys wearing No. 9 Saints jerseys—exclaimed, “Our dad is finally going to retire so he can spend more time with us!” The decision comes after the 42-year-old quarterback won nine of 12 regular-season starts while completing 70.5% of his passes in 2020, and then won a wild-card round playoff game before New Orleans’ season ended with a divisional-round loss to eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay. Brees is the NFL’s all-time leader in yards passing with 80,358, although that mark will be under threat next season by 44-year-old Tom Brady, who has 79,204 career yards passing. Brees’ 571 career touchdown passes rank second behind Brady’s 581. The Saints currently have one quarterback under contract: Taysom Hill, who went 3-1 as a starter during Brees' absence in 2020. New Orleans also is expected to pursue another veteran QB to compete for a starting job, including free agent Jameis Winston, who spent 2020 as a Saints reserve.
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