Tom Brady announced his retirement on Tuesday morning. After several days of rumors about the future of the seven-time Super Bowl champion, six with the New England Patriots and one more with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 44-year-old quarterback has finally decided to end his career on the gridiron.
Brady’s story began in 2000 and his last memory on the court was written last Sunday, January 23, the day the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost the Divisional Round 27-30 to the Los Angeles Rams.
“I have always believed that the sport of soccer is an ‘all inclusive’ proposition, if there is not a 100% competitive commitment, you will not succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game,” Brady said in his statement. “There is a physical, mental and emotional challenge EVERY day that has allowed me to maximize my full potential. And I’ve done my best these past 22 years. There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life.”
“This is hard for me to write, but here it goes: I’m not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I’ve loved my NFL career, and now it’s time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention. I’ve done a lot of thinking this past week and I’ve asked myself hard questions. And I am very proud of what we have achieved. My teammates, coaches, fellow competitors and fans deserve 100% from me, but right now, I better leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes.”
Brady has been adamant for weeks that he never wanted a “bye season,” sources told ESPN, and now he’ll shift his focus to new endeavors.
Just Monday night, in an episode of his podcast, “Let’s go”, the quarterback had maintained that he was still going through “the process” of making a decision, and that there was nothing definitive.
Brady was very extensive in his thanks to the fans and the organization of Tampa Bay, where he spent his final two seasons, in his statement.
“I’ve done a lot of thinking over the last week, and I’ve asked myself some tough questions. I am so proud of what I have achieved. My teammates, coaches, competitors, and fans deserve 100% of me, but now, the best thing is to leave the field of play to the next generation of committed and dedicated athletes.”
“To my teammates with the Bucs for the last couple of years, I love you and loved going into battle with you. You guys have done so much to challenge yourself, and you inspired me to wake up every day to do my best. I will always be here for you and I want to see you continue to push to be the best. I couldn’t be happier for what we achieved together.”
“To all the Bucs fans, I thank you. I didn’t know what to expect when I got here, but your support and acceptance have enriched my life and my family’s. I have been fortunate to play for such a passionate and fun crowd. What a crew!”
“To the city of Tampa and the entire Tampa-St. Petersburg, thank you. It has been wonderful being a resident of such a fun place to live. I want to be invited to our next boat parade.”
To the Glazer family, thank you for taking a chance on me and supporting me. I know I was demanding at times, but you guys provided everything we needed to win, and your leadership is all a player could ask for.”
Notably in his thanks are Robert Kraft, and the organization and fans of the New England Patriots, where he spent the first 20 years of his career.
ESPN, citing sources, reported Saturday that Brady would retire from the NFL. Sources told ESPN that Brady knew the NFC Divisional Round Game against the Rams would likely be his last, and that he had spent time after the game preparing for an announcement. ESPN also reported that it was unknown when Brady would formalize his retirement plans, but he would not do so to overshadow NFL postseason games, including the Super Bowl.
Don Yee, his agent, stated at the time, via a statement to the media, that “I understand the speculation advanced regarding Tom’s future. Without getting into the accuracy or inaccuracy of what is being reported, Tom will be the only person to express his plans with complete accuracy. He knows the realities of the football business and planning a schedule like no one else, so that should happen soon.”
Now, it has been Brady himself who officially announced his retirement.
ESPN also reported that Buccaneers executives and coaches have been preparing for Brady’s eventual retirement.