Drew Brees, who announced his retirement from football on Sunday after 20 NFL seasons, including 15 with the New Orleans Saints, will be joining NBC Sports, he announced on the “TODAY” show Monday.
“I am going to be working for NBC,” Brees said. “I’m part of the team now! A good team.”
“I’m excited about that journey, I’m excited to stay very closely connected to the game of football. It’s been such an important part of my life, and I continue to be able to talk about it, show passion for it and bring my kids around for that ride there as well and let them be part of some of those special moments,” Brees said.
“Having them be a part of this and knowing that there’s memories and knowing hopefully moments of inspiration for them that will last a lifetime, that’s what it’s all about,” he said about his football career.
Brees shared his somewhat-expected decision to retire Sunday night on Instagram.
“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,” Brees wrote. “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!”
The post was accompanied by a video of his four children declaring: “Our dad is finally going to retire so he can spend more time with us! Yay!”
Brees’ announcement came 15 years to the day after he signed with the Saints, shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in August 2005.
He said when he and his wife, Brittany, were touring the city before he decided to join the Saints, they knew after seeing the destruction that they belonged in New Orleans.
“Brittany and I looked at each other and said, ‘This is so much more than just football. This is part of the resurrection and resurgence of one of America’s greatest cities,'” Brees said.
He added that he is “most excited” about upcoming philanthropic endeavors in New Orleans and around the country.
“Life is full of defining moments, and life is full of next chapters,” Brees said Monday. “Whenever you leave one chapter and go onto the next one, I think you hope to have left a legacy behind where you left it better than you found it.”
“I want to be able to look back with incredible memories and knowing that I gave it my absolute best,” Brees added.
Saints coach Sean Payton said that Brees had given it his all, even when injured.
“Over the years his durability and availability is quite amazing. I can recall so many of these different injuries,” Payton said. “He’s as courageous and as tough a player as I’ve ever been around.”
Brees had dropped hints about his intentions, saying he considered himself to be on “borrowed time.” After his final game in January, he returned to the Superdome field in street clothes, embraced his wife, Brittany, and played catch with his children for nearly two hours. When Tom Brady saw them on his way to the Tampa Bay bus, he stopped, chatted, threw passes to Brees’ children and hugged Brees before departing.
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.
“Congrats my friend on an incredible career,” Brady said in a social media post Sunday. “Thank you for the inspiration and dedication on and off the field! Look forward to seeing what’s next.”