Did Drew Brees Retire? What Saints QB Said in Postgame Interview

If Sunday's Divisional Round loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers turns out to be the last game of Drew Brees' career, he will walk away from football with "no complaints and no regrets."

Brees turned 42 on Friday and was widely expected to retire at the end of the season even had the New Orleans Saints gone all the way to the Super Bowl.

The veteran quarterback was on the verge of retiring last season and has already agreed to join NBC once his playing days are over, but remained non-committal over his future on Sunday night.

"I'm gonna give myself an opportunity to think about the season, think about a lot of things, just like I did last year, and make a decision," he said during his press conference following the Saints' 30-20 loss to the Buccaneers.

Having nearly retired during the offseason, Brees signed a two-year extension with the Saints and returned for a final tilt at adding a second ring to the one he won in Super Bowl XLIV.

What will in all likelihood go down in the annals as his final season in the NFL was a rollercoaster for Brees, who faced questions over his waning powers, before missing four games over November and December with a punctured lung and 11 broken ribs.

The 42-year-old eventually returned to help the Saints to a 12-4 regular season record to earn the No. 2 seed in the NFC, reach the Divisional Round for the third time in four seasons and set up a blockbuster matchup against fellow veteran Tom Brady.

"No complaints. No regrets. Man, I've always tried to play this game with a great respect and a great reverence for it. And I appreciate all that this game has given to me," Brees replied when asked if he regretted playing this season.

"There are obviously so many incredible memories, so many incredible relationships that have come as a result of playing this game. And, man, you find out so much about yourself and you have to fight through so much when you play this game.

"And I'd say this season, I probably had to fight through more than I've ever had to in any other season in my career—from injury to all the COVID stuff to just crazy circumstances. And it was worth every moment of it. Absolutely."

However, there was no fairytale for the all-time NFL's passing leader in what is widely expected to be his final NFL game. Brees completed 19 of his 34 passes for just 134 yards and one touchdown against the Bucs, throwing three interceptions in a postseason game for the first time in his career. His 38.1 passer rating, meanwhile, only exacerbated the feeling Father Time has caught up with one of the NFL's greatest ever quarterbacks.

Two of the three picks came at crucial junctures of the game. With the Saints trailing 23-20 in the fourth quarter after relinquishing a 20-10 lead, Brees mistimed a pass up the seam to Saints running back Alvin Kamara, which was intercepted by Bucs linebacker Devin White and subsequently resulted into a Brady touchdown.

With the Saints down by 10 and needing to push the ball down the field, Brees looked to hit Jared Cook only for his pass to be tipped in the air and picked by Bucs defensive back Mike Edwards, an interception which effectively sealed the game.

Brees took blame for the three interceptions, which will likely be the disappointing final act of an otherwise glittering career.

"A couple of them I probably shouldn't have thrown and maybe forced it in there. And we were probably just a little off on the overall execution," he conceded.

"But at the end of the day, that's what this game came down to was those turnovers."

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees
Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints acknowledges the crowd after being defeated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 17 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Chris Graythen/Getty