Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, trails Manning by 1,495 passing yards and 51 touchdown passes. Manning retired after winning Super Bowl 50 in February of 2016.
Brees, 39, is entering his 18th NFL season. Last year, he threw for 4,334 yards with 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Manning owns all-time NFL records with 71,940 passing yards and 539 TD passes. Brees is behind only Manning with 70,445 passing yards. He trails Manning and Brett Favre (508), and is tied with Tom Brady with 488 touchdown passes.
"He's just been the ultimate pro, taking care of himself, being in great shape," Manning said of Brees, according to the Times-Picayune. "It's a credit to him for playing as long as he has, at such a high level. He changed teams, which I know what that's like. That is not easy going from San Diego to New Orleans, and he's just been a great model of consistently obviously (with what) he and (Saints coach) Sean (Peyton) have been able to do in 12 years together now."
Brees spent the first five years of his NFL career with the San Diego Chargers before getting traded to the Saints in 2006. Manning spent 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts before finishing his 18-year career with the Denver Broncos.
Manning believes his two NFL records will be broken by Brees at some point, and he is OK with that.
"Yeah, I don't think it's a matter of if. It's just a matter of when," Manning said. "He deserves it. He's been a great player for a long time."