Drew Brees gave some insight into just how long he’s been contemplating retirement.
After over two decades of high-level football dictating his life, Drew Brees is just another dude in the world.
Well, he’s former New Orleans Saints legend and future Hall of Famer Drew Brees — so little bit more than your average dude. But for the first time since he arrived at Purdue back in 1997, Brees will be walking up on fall weekends as nothing more than a spectator.
It’s that sense of normalcy, away from routine that has guided their entire lives that seemingly explains why it’s so hard for athletes to walk away from the game. But Brees is retired, and it’s a decision that while sudden to many fans in the NFL is something that the quarterback has been thinking about for a long time.
Drew Brees reveals how long he was thinking about retiring from the NFL
“I told myself starting probably back in 2017 that I was literally going to play every season as if it was my last and just pour everything I could into it,” Brees said. “When I committed to doing that, I had more fun playing football the last four years than I had my entire career.”
Each offseason Brees would ask his family what they thought about him hanging it up and not playing football anymore. Each offseason that question was answered with a common refrain.
”They said ‘no, you can’t retire. We’re not going to be able to go to the games anymore’,” Brees said, laughing. “So the same conversation came up this offseason and they looked and me and said ‘okay, dad, we’re ready’”.
What’s notable about the timeline of Brees’ season-to-season contemplation is that it came during perhaps the most brutal stretch in Saints history. Aside from the awful early years, few teams bustling with as much talent and success as the Saints have been met with such utter soul-crushing heartbreak. The season Brees first started contemplating retirement ended with the Minneapolis Miracle, the following season was the infamous no-call pass interference against the Rams, and the season after that ended in a Wild Card upset to the Vikings.
Each time the Saints had their hearts ripped out and each time Brees put off retirement for another season to come back.
The biggest tragedy of his final season is that he walked off the field to scattered cheers and applause rather than the roaring crescendo his career in New Orleans deserved. He’ll be back though, as this simply sets up one last triumphant return to the Superdome for Brees as a packed crowd awaits.
The only difference is, this time his usual Sunday armor will be replaced by a t-shirt and jeans.