Former Chargers quarterback Drew Brees being cheered at Petco Park at a 2016 All-Star Game event. Photo by Chris Stone

Quarterback Drew Brees, who started his career with the San Diego Chargers, announced via social media on Sunday that he has retired.

Brees, 42, who maintains deep connections in the San Diego area, ranks among the NFL’s best quarterbacks.

He leads the NFL in all-time career passing yards with 80,358 and 7,142 completions. He comes in second only to Tom Brady as far as touchdowns, with 571.

He spent 15 seasons with the New Orleans Saints, guiding the team to its only Super Bowl win in 2009. He played his first five years with the Chargers, who drafted him in the second round in 2001.

He also made the Pro Bowl 13 times. The numbers, according to NFL observers, make him a lock for the Hall of Fame.

“Next stop: Canton,” according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

He posted a video of his four children to his Instagram account, and a statement, in announcing his retirement. “Our dad is finally going to retire so he can spend more time with us,” they said, closing with a cheer.

“Each day I poured my heart and soul into being your quarterback,” he wrote. “Til the very end, I exhausted myself to give everything I had to the Saints organization, my team, and the great city of New Orleans,” Brees said.

“I am only retiring from playing football, I am not retiring from New Orleans,” he concluded. This is not goodbye, rather a new beginning. Now my real life’s work begins!”

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