Drew Brees, who spent 15 of his 20 NFL seasons as quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, joined noted Saints fan Hoda Kotb on NBC's "Today" show Monday morning to discuss his decision to retire from football and what is to come following his legendary playing career.
In the interview, Brees said that he's taken the past four seasons one year at a time and he knew that the 2020 season would likely be his final campaign.
"That's a decision that you don't just wake up one day and say, 'Hey, I'm gonna retire,'" Brees said. "It's definitely a process and, listen, I'm 42 years old. I've had a chance to play this game for 20 years in the NFL and I think for the last few years, I felt like this moment was coming and it just made me so laser-focused on staying in the moment each and every day, enjoying the moment, enjoying the preparation, enjoying the grind, enjoying the celebrations with my teammates. Just knowing that at some point I will retire and move onto the next chapter."
What does Brees' next chapter have in store?
During his conversation with Kotb, Brees announced that he is joining NBC Sports as a studio analyst for "Football Night in America'"and a game analyst for NBC's coverage of Notre Dame football.
He also will work at some of NBC Sports' other prominent events, including Super Bowl LVI and the Olympics.
"I'm part of the team now, a new team," Brees said. "I'm excited about that journey. I'm excited to stay very closely connected with the game of football, it's been such an important part of my life.
"I continue to be able to talk about it, show a passion for it, and be able to bring my kids along for the ride there as well, and let them be part of those special moments."
The 13-time Pro Bowler reflected on what he will miss most about his time as a player.
"There's so many things. The moments on the field after the game. I think those are the moments that my kids most look forward to," he said. "It's the game after the game. I think that's been one of the most special parts of this whole journey is watching our kids grow up through this and be able to retain the information and come to the Saints facility and they would jump in the hot tub with me, they'd jump in the cold tub with me, they'd jump in the whirlpool, they'd run around the indoor facility, and they'd bring their footballs to the game, knowing they'd have an opportunity to go on the field after to play. Having them be a part of this, and knowing that there's memories and hopefully moments of inspiration for them that will last a lifetime, that's what it's all about."
Brees came to New Orleans as a free agent acquisition prior to the 2006 season. He recalled touring New Orleans with his wife in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as he was deciding which organization he wanted to play for. At one point, he and Saints Coach Sean Payton got lost on their way back to the team facility and saw a tugboat sitting in the middle of the street.
"That was the moment where Brittany and I looked at each other and said this is so much more than just football," he said. "This is part of the resurrection and resurgence of one of America's greatest cities, and we have a chance to be a part of this."
Brees went on to lead New Orleans to the Super Bowl XLIV championship during the 2009 season and finished his remarkable career as the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards (80,358) and second all-time in touchdown passes (571) and completion percentage (67.7 percent).
Following his NFL retirement announcement, we look back at Saints quarterback