Drew Brees Explains Why He Retired From NFL

Drew Brees announced his retirement from the NFL this week and admitted it wasn't an easy decision. The former New Orleans Saints quarterback spoke to reporters recently about leaving the game and making the transition to NBC Sports. He said he could have kept playing but wanted to spend more time with his family.

"I felt that it was time," he said, as reported by ESPN. "Could I keep playing? Yeah, I'm sure I could. But I'm also looking at my kids, my family, the age of my kids. And just gauging all of those things, there's a balance there. And I also just felt like I would just feel it - I would feel when it was time," Brees went into the 2020 season anticipating it would be his last. He missed four games due to multiple injuries, but the Saints still were able to win the NFC South for the fourth consecutive year. The Saints lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round of the playoffs.

"I've always said as long as I could play the game at a high level, I'm having fun doing it and able to stay healthy, then this is something I'll do forever," Brees said. "Obviously, I've had some injuries the last two years that have been frustrating -- both of them kind of freak things. [But] I don't think they were injuries that were saying I was getting old."

While Brees wanted to win another Super Bowl before retiring, he will walk into the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he's eligible in 2026. Brees leaves the game as the NFL's all-time leader in career passing yards (80,358) and ranks second all-time in touchdown passes behind Tom Brady (571). He led the Saints to a Super Bowl win in 2009 and was named Super Bowl MVP.

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"I understand why guys have such a hard time with the transition from football," Brees stated. "... You can't replicate the locker room, and you can't replicate running out of the tunnel. There's just moments and feelings and emotions that are really hard to replicate after you've been a professional football player." The Saints will now move forward and have a new starting quarterback for the first time in 15 years.