Drew Brees joined fellow New Orleanian Ellen Degeneres on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Wednesday, March 24 to discuss his time with the New Orleans Saints and his decision to retire from football following his legendary playing career.
Brees reflected on his 15 years in the Black & Gold and how much being a member of the New Orleans community means to him.
"When you're playing football, and this was 20 years, right?" Brees said. "You're so locked in, you're so focused from day-to-day, season-to-season, even the offseason. Every decision you make is based on you as a football player and what is putting you in the best position to succeed, and your team. And so, it's not until all of a sudden I actually announced the retirement that it was like, that's when true reflection could take place and true appreciation. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to play for the New Orleans Saints and be a member of that community. That was so special.
"I'm simply retiring from being a football player. Like, I'm not retiring from New Orleans. I'm not retiring from our love of the city and all of the things that we're going to be doing in the city. We've got so many incredible projects and things that we're working on with community leaders to continue to push New Orleans forward and make it the best it can be."
Brees naturally spoke his retirement, noting his strong feeling that the divisional playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be his last.
"That glance right there, I think that says it all," Brees said of his final look at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome field. "You know, the one thing that as you're walking off the field, I can see my family. Normally I can't see my family because of all the fans. But I could see my family, so I was able to blow them kisses after every home game which was unique to this year. But as I was walking off, I did realize this might be my last time to walk off this field and I want to give it one more look."
Brees also talked about his family's reaction to the decision to retire.
"I have the most supportive wife in the world and she's always been like we will support you as long as you want to play," Brees said. "And I'd say over the last few years. I recognized that I was more toward the end than I was the beginning. And so you begin to think about, you know, what's that going to feel like? What's going to be that determining factor or what have you? I just told myself probably starting 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, enjoy it as much as I could. You know, take a little more time to maybe smell the roses and enjoy the plane rides home, and the locker room. When I committed to doing that, I had more fun playing football the last four years than I had my entire career."