UPDATE: The Tom Brady era is officially over.
After days of speculation, the NFL great officially announced his retirement Tuesday morning on Instagram
“This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention. I have done a lot of reflecting the past week and have asked myself difficult questions. And I am so proud of what we have achieved. My teammates, coaches, fellow competitors and fans deserve 100% of me, but right now, it’s best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes,” he wrote.
Brady’s future in the NFL became the subject of intense speculation Saturday after ESPN reported that the storied quarterback would announce his retirement in the near future, but sources close to Brady assert that he has not yet reached a final decision.
The Associated Press reported that Brady has contacted Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht to state that he has not yet made a decision regarding retirement, citing two anonymous sources.
Before his official statement, Brady’s longtime agent offered a response to the reports that seems to indicate an announcement from the quarterback on the matter will come soon.
“I understand the advance speculation about Tom’s future. Without getting into the accuracy or inaccuracy of what’s being reported, Tom will be the only person to express his plans with complete accuracy,” Donald Yee, Brady’s longtime agent, said in a statement. “He knows the realities of the football business and planning calendar as well as anybody, so that should be soon.”
The retirement comes as somewhat of a surprise. While the 44-year-old quarterback has enjoyed a 22-season career, Brady was still demonstrating high-level play with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since joining the organization in 2020. Brady helped lead the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win during the 2020-2021 season, emerging victorious over the Kansas City Chiefs. After going 13-4 in the most recent regular season, the Buccaneers fell to the Los Angeles Rams in a divisional playoff game on Jan. 23. Brady also hasn’t missed a game due to injuries since 2007.
“I feel like I want to play as a championship-level player,” Brady told the Tampa Bay Times in mid-January. “That’s what I’ve said for a long time. When I’m not able to do that — I said a long time ago when I suck I’ll retire — but what I really meant was when I’m not capable of leading the team to victory, then someone else has to do the job.”
Prior to joining the Buccaneers, Brady played 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, serving as the franchise’s cornerstone across two decades. He has won seven championship titles across ten Super Bowl appearances — an NFL record for a player. He also ranks as the all-time leader in quarterback wins, touchdown passes, combined passing yards and Pro Bowl selections and is considered by many to be the greatest player in the history of professional football.
ESPN’s report indicated that Brady’s decision to retire would come as a result of a multitude of factors, including family, health and potential restructuring of the Buccaneers’ roster in the upcoming off-season.
Read Brady’s full statement below.
I have always believed the sport of football is an “all-in” proposition – if a 100% competitive commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game. There is a physical, mental, and emotional challenge EVERY single day that has allowed me to maximize my highest potential. And I have tried my very best these past 22 years. There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life.
This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention.
I’ve done a lot of reflecting the past week and have asked myself difficult questions. And I am so proud of what we have achieved. My teammates, coaches, fellow competitors, and fans deserve 100% of me, but right now, it’s best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes.
To my Bucs teammates the past two years, I love you guys, and I have loved going to battle with you. You have dug so deep to challenge yourself, and it inspired me to wake up every day and give you my best. I am always here for you guys and want to see you continue to push yourselves to be your best. I couldn’t be happier with what we accomplished together.
To all the Bucs fans, thank you. I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived here, but your support and embrace have enriched my life and that of my family. I have been honored to play for such a passionate and fun fan base. What a Krewe!!!
To the city of Tampa and the entire Tampa-St. Petersburg region, thank you. It has been wonderful to be 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 provided everything we needed to win, and your ownership
was everything a player could ask for.
To Jason Licht, thank you for your daily support and friendship – I will never forget it. I had never been through free agency, and I had some trepidation about how we could achieve success. Your leadership gave me confidence, and I will always be grateful.
To my head coach Bruce Arians, thanks for putting up with me! Your firm leadership and guidance were ideal. There is no way we could have had success without your experience, intuition, and wisdom. I am very grateful.
To all the Bucs coaches, my sincere thanks for all the hard work, dedication, and discipline that goes into creating a winning team. I have learned so much from all of you and will value the relationships we have.
To every single Bucs staffer and employee, thank you. Each of you is critically important, and I was greeted with a smile every day. That means so much to me. Your work is made up of long hours and hard tasks, but please know I see each and every one of you. Thank you so much.
To Alex Guerrero, thank you. I could never have made every Sunday without you; it’s that simple. Your dedication to your craft and our friendship and brotherhood are immeasurable. We have an unbreakable bond, and I love you.
To Don Yee and Steve Dubin, thank you. You’ve been with me every step of the way since I left the University of Michigan and before I entered the league. What a journey it’s been, and I couldn’t do it without you.
To my parents and entire family (and extended family of countless friends), I love you and thank you for your never-ending support and love. I could never have imagined the time and energy you have given for me the past 30 years in football. I can never repay you. And just know I love you so much.
And lastly to my wife, Gisele, and my children Jack, Benny and Vivi. You are my inspiration. Our family is my greatest achievement. I always came off the field and home to the most loving and supportive wife who has done everything for our family to allow me to focus on my career. Her selflessness allowed me to reach new heights professionally, and I am beyond words what you mean to me and our family. Te amo amor da minha vida.
My playing career has been such a thrilling ride, and far beyond my imagination, and full of ups and owns. When you’re in it every day, you really don’t think about any kind of ending. As I sit here now, however, I think of all the great players and coaches I was privileged to play with and against – the competition was fierce and deep, JUST HOW WE LIKE IT. But the friendships and relationships are just as fierce and deep. I will remember and cherish these memories and revisit them often. I feel like the luckiest person in the world.
The future is exciting. I’m fortunate to have cofounded incredible companies like @autograph.io and @bradybrand @tb12sports that I am excited to continue to help build and grow, but exactly what my days will look like will be a work-in-progress. As I said earlier, I am going to take it day by day. I know for sure I want to spend a lot of time giving to others and trying to enrich other people’s lives, just as so many have done for me.
With much love, appreciation and gratitude, Tom.