Drew Brees hints that his retirement could be coming sooner than anyone thinks

For the past few years, Saints quarterback Drew Brees has indicated that he would like to play in the NFL until he's 45. However, it seems that Brees has recently had a change of heart, because it appears he no longer wants to play that long. 

During a recent interview with the Athletic, the 39-year-old quarterback said that he'll definitely walk away from the game before he turns 45.

"Do I feel like I could play this game for a lot longer? Until I'm 45 and beyond? Yes I do, if that was truly what I wanted to do, I feel like I could do that, God willing, health wise and everything," Brees said. "But I'm telling you, I'll walk away from this game prior to that."

If Brees hangs up his cleats before he turns 45, that means that he won't be playing past 2023. Of course, he could also retire before that. 

In his interview with the Athletic, Brees hinted that retirement might be coming sooner than anyone expects. As a matter of fact, the Saints quarterback flat out said that he's already ready for the next chapter in his life. 

"When I do walk away it'll be because I want to spend more time with my family, because I'm ready for that next chapter, and I'll feel like I gave it everything I wanted to give it," Brees said. 

The Saints quarterback, who turns 40 in January, seems eager to spend more time with his family. 

"The season is a grind. Physically, mentally, and emotionally," Brees said. "To be fully invested in this requires a lot of time and a lot of energy. It obviously requires a lot of time away from the family as well."

Brees might not be retiring at the end of this season, but he definitely sounds like a man who's bracing to for the fact that his career is going to end soon. 

"I don't know exactly when [retirement] will be yet, but what it has done is it made me value each and every day that much more," Brees said. "It's made me want to stay in the moment that much more because I just don't know when it will be over and I just want to maximize each and every second and enjoy each and every second because when I do walk away I don't want to say I wish I would have done things differently. I want to say, man I gave it everything I could and I'm just ready for the next chapter."

If Brees does decide to retire soon, a Super Bowl win in 2018 might be the thing that could push him over the top. If that were to happen, it would allow Brees to retire on top. Not only would be be a two-time Super Bowl champion, but he would also be walking away with some of the NFL's most hallowed records. 

As a matter of fact, Brees could earn one of those records on Monday night. If the Saints quarterback throws for 201 yards, he'll move past Peyton Manning on the NFL's all-time list for most passing yards. Brees could also hit another major milestone on Monday if he throws four touchdown passes. With 496 for his career, Brees is just four scores away from becoming the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw 500 touchdown passes. The members of the very exclusive 500 club include just Manning (539), Brett Favre (508) and Tom Brady (500). 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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