Drew Brees talks making decision to retire from NFL: 'I felt that it was time'

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Drew Brees said Wednesday he “felt that it was time” to retire and enter the next phase of his career.

The former New Orleans Saints quarterback, who retired on Sunday — 15 years to the day of signing with the team he helped revive, talked about his decision to call it quits after 20 seasons in the league. He will become an analyst and commentator for NBC starting this season.

“Ever since the 2017 season, I have truly approached each season like it could be my last, and I’ve approached the offseason that way and I’ve approached each and every game during the season that way. There was no additional pressure with that, because I really tried to play every game like it was the Super Bowl, like it was the most important game of the season,” Brees said at a press conference held by NBC Sports, via Pro Football Talk.


“So my preparation was always the same. It was always consistent. I always wanted to put my absolute best on the field every time out. What I started to do was maybe just enjoy some of the little things a bit more. So the bus rides home, the plane rides home, the locker room after, just smell the roses so to speak and really just stay in the moment and enjoy it, and knowing that if something happened where all of a sudden it was an injury or whatever, and that was my last game, then I know I poured everything I could into it. I just approached each year for the last four or five years that way, with that mindset. I feel like that served me well, and I think played some of my best football during that time.”

Additionally, the 42-year-old said that he always felt that as long as he could stay healthy and continue to love and enjoy the game he could play forever. But Brees was injured in 2019 and 2020 and said it was “frustrating” to go through.


“At the end of the day, the factors that go into this are, I’ve always said as long as I can play the game at a high level; I’m having fun doing it; and I’m able to stay healthy, then this is something I’ll do forever. Obviously, I’ve had some injuries the last two years that have been frustrating,” he said.

“Both of them kind of freak things. I don’t think they were injuries that were saying I was getting old. But nonetheless, I had the thumb that ruled me five games two years ago, and then had the ribs and the lung that holds me out for four games this past year. 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. I also just felt like I would just feel it. I would feel when it was time. I felt that it was time.”

Brees will be an analyst during NBC’s “Football Night in America” and a commentator during Notre Dame football games.


While the New York Post reported that Brees signed a deal with NBC to transition into a new broadcaster role once he retired, the quarterback made the official announcement on Monday.

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