Drew Brees finally made his official decision to retire on Sunday afternoon, bringing his legendary 20-year NFL career to a close. Fittingly, his announcement comes 15 years to the day of when he signed his first deal with the New Orleans Saints.
Sunday's retirement comes as no surprise to the league after it was anticipated that the 2020 season would be his last. Brees sent a message to the city of New Orleans, with a little help from his children, thanking the Saints organization for his illustrious career.
"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,"
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">Brees wrote 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. We shared some amazing moments together, many of which are emblazoned in our hearts and minds and will forever be a part of us. You have molded me, strengthened me, inspired me, and given me a lifetime of memories. My goal for the last 15 years was striving to give to you everything you had given to me and more."
"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 will retire as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. However, he leaves the Saints behind with a question mark at the quarterback position.
The presumptive heir will be Jameis Winston, who will enter the new league year as a free agent.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2021
">According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Saints have already been working on a deal to keep the quarterback with the team in 2021.
After five rollercoaster years with the Buccaneers, Winston, 27, threw just 12 passes for the Saints in 2020. He completed eight of those throws, including a 56-yard bomb for a touchdown on a trick play in the team's divisional round loss to Tampa Bay.
Nonetheless, the rest of the NFL world clearly think the Saints starting job is Winston's for the taking.
Sean Payton and the Saints have plenty of time to work out their new starter for 2021, whether that's Winston or someone else. For now, the organization will celebrate the career of Drew Brees and all that he's done for the city of New Orleans.