Brees’ letter was published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Monday – one day after he announced his retirement from the NFL after 20 seasons, which included a Super Bowl victory and helping the city get back on its feet in wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“Words cannot express the love and appreciation I have for you. From the moment I stepped foot into the city of New Orleans, I could feel your spirit. You told me that if I loved New Orleans, you would love me back. No truer words have ever been spoken,” he wrote addressing the city and Saints fans. “You embraced me as your QB, and my family as your own. You made me strive to be the best I could be for you. When I was knocked down, you picked me up. It was your passion, emotion, and resilience that made us all believe. I will spend the rest of my life attempting to give back to you what you have given to me. My family and I will always love you.”
Among the thanks yous, he addressed his family, the Benson family, Sean Payton and Mikey Loomis.
He also had a message for the “young dreamers.” He wrote about some of the lessons he learned learning along the way, including “Always possess a growth mindset!,” “The Power of Play,” and “Focus on Winning at the Game of Life.”
“We all strive to be great at something. It could be sports, music, etc. What I’ve found to be most meaningful in life are relationships, being part of a team, feeling empowered by knowledge and education, and feeling that I can impact the world in a positive way,” Brees added. “Find the things that bring out the best in you and others. Have a thirst for knowledge, treat others with respect and kindness, work to be well rounded, and do your best where you are. It may not be where you want to be yet, but when you focus on winning the game of life, the rest will take care of itself.”
Brees said Monday he was going to work for NBC now that his on-field career is over.
He finished his career with one Super Bowl ring, first all-time in passing yards (80,358), second in passing touchdowns (571), fifth in passer rating (98.7), second in completion percentage (67.8%) and third in fourth-quarter comebacks (36).