"Hopefully someday we could do something like a special. But until then, I have to say goodbye to these great characters," Terry Crews tells PEOPLE

Terry Crews on Brooklyn 99
Credit: FOX Image Collection via Getty

Terry Crews is sad to say farewell to Brooklyn Nine-Nine a week after filming his last scene for the eighth and final season.

The actor, 52, tells PEOPLE what it was like wrapping the show and parting ways with his character Lt. Terry Jeffords, the yogurt-loving gentle giant. "I was talking to Andy [Samberg] just the other day and said, 'You know, these are real people we created over eight years.' Your body and brain don't know the difference, and that is really deep," Crews says of saying goodbye.

"You're talking about 153 episodes and almost nine years. I've never played a character longer in my life. I was like, 'Terry Jeffords is real!' And you honor each and every one of those characters because they still live and they'll never die," the America's Got Talent host shares.

He adds: "That's what is so beautiful of what this is, they'll always be here no matter what. What's so wonderful is that in five years, it'll be more popular than it is now, that's what is going to be brilliant. I can't wait."

Terry Crews on Brooklyn 99
Credit: FOX Image Collection via Getty

Crews says that he hopes he and his costars, including Samberg, Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio, Stephanie Beatriz and more, can celebrate their beloved show in the future with a reunion special. "Hopefully I could talk reunion, hopefully someday we could do something like a special or whatever. But until then, I have to say goodbye to these great characters," he says.

So on June 10, his final day of filming, did Crews take anything from the set as a memento? Perhaps one of his character's signature suspenders? "What could you say, there's nothing I could take that would be better than actually sitting and watching an episode," the star says.

"They gave me things, which were absolutely beautiful, but I never really wanted to ruin ... I have those memories, I have all those stuff. What happens is your kids end up selling those stuff," he jokes. "[The buyer will say], 'I got the official badge from Terry Crews.' You know, sometime in 2074. I want to save it for the reunion, let people keep it in a time vault so we can be back together."

Crews marked the bittersweet day on Instagram as well, posting mirror selfies of both his first and last days of shooting the show.

"What can I say. Been in tears all day. 8 years with this wonderful cast and crew. The highs, the lows and everything in between — but we made it. I'm so thankful for the fans who kept us alive when we were dead in the water. We came back stronger and better — all thanks to your love and support," he wrote. "I will miss Terry Jeffords because he IS me. The NINE-NINE will live on forever in my heart and in the hearts of millions of fans around the world. Terry loves yogurt, Terry loves love — and TERRY LOVES YOU."

Terry Crews on Brooklyn 99
Credit: FOX Image Collection via Getty

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On Wednesday, Crews spoke about wrapping Brooklyn Nine-Nine during his virtual appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

"There were so many tears, so many hugs. It was incredible. You spend more time with these castmates than you do with your own family. It's true and you go, 'Oh my God, this was the connection we had,' " he told host Seth Meyers. "What was so beautiful, I've been in places where things tended to fall apart. You're there with people and all of a sudden you're like, 'I don't like them anymore.' But it did not happen on this show, we actually got closer and closer and better and better."

Crews concluded, "I'm kinda going through a little bit of a depression, a little mourning. Because you have to acknowledge it, because it's change. Everything is gone and you may not work with these people again, that's the reality. And it's really, really deep."

Brooklyn Nine-Nine ran for five seasons on Fox before it was canceled. Then, NBC picked up the show for a sixth season that aired in 2019 and season 7 aired in 2020.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns Aug. 12 on NBC.