Written By Edward Sutelan
Tom Brady appears to be riding off into the sunset after 22 years in the NFL.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington reported Saturday afternoon that Brady has decided to retire following his second season in Tampa Bay, ending a first-ballot Hall of Fame career.
Since the initial report, however, others have come out to report that the decision has not yet been finalized. His agent, Don Yee, told ESPN and other media outlets that while he would not speak on the veracity of the report, only Brady will share news of his plans with complete accuracy.
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Sporting News is tracking the latest reports on Brady’s potential retirement.
Is Tom Brady retiring?
5:28 p.m.: Despite several reports emerging questioning whether Brady has made his decision to retire, ESPN has said it is standing by its report, according to The New York Times’ Kevin Draper.
ESPN’s full statement on Schefter/Darlington’s reporting: “We stand by our reporting”
— Kevin Draper (@kevinmdraper) January 29, 2022
5:18 p.m.: NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said he believes Brady’s plan is still to retire, but that the issue regarding the earlier report on his status has more to do with timing.
“Brady is very in charge, in control of his brand,” Rapoport said. “He generally has fantastically well produced announcements. He is producing a show on ESPN+ about his entire career that has not yet filmed the final episode. I wonder what will be in that episode, that will be interesting as well. But this is not all buttoned up yet. But my understanding is the plan is in fact for Tom Brady to retire.”
4:51 p.m.: Brady Sr. is now telling NFL Network’s Mike Giardi that his son has not made a decision and that anyone who says otherwise is “absolutely wrong.”
Checked in with Tom Brady Sr. who tells me, and I quote, “This story Mike is total conjecture. Tommy has not made a final decision one way or the other and anybody else that says that he has is absolutely wrong.” #TomBrady #Buccaneers
— Mike Giardi (@MikeGiardi) January 29, 2022
4:41 p.m.: ESPN’s Buccaneers reporter Jenna Laine reported that Arians said Brady is “not even close” to making a decision on retirement. The Athletic’s Jeff Howe also reported that Brady called the team Saturday afternoon to say he is not close on deciding about his future.
Tom Brady hasn’t informed the Bucs that he’s retiring. Bruce Arians told me, “He hasn’t. Not even close to making up his mind yet. He told us.”
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) January 29, 2022
4:21 p.m.: KRON4’s Kylen Mills reported that the quarterback’s father, Tom Brady Sr., told the Bay Area-based news station that Brady is not, in fact, retiring. Brady Sr. reportedly said that an online publication began to circulate the rumors, and that now NFL insiders have begun to pick it up.
JUST IN: Tom Brady Sr. tells @kron4news that his son is not retiring. Brady Sr. says an online publication started circulating an unsubstantiated rumor. However a number of NFL insiders are now reporting it. @kron4news #TomBrady #NFL
— Kylen Mills (@KylenMills) January 29, 2022
4:00 p.m.: Michael Silver reported that Brady spoke with Tampa Bay’s general manager Jason Licht to say that he has not made up his mind if he is going to retire. Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud later confirmed Silver’s reporting that the call between QB and GM took place.
Report for @BallySports: Tom Brady contacted @Buccaneers GM Jason Licht and told him he has not yet made a final decision on retirement, disputing the ESPN report. Licht is respecting Brady’s process and waiting for a definitive answer, whenever it comes, from the QB.
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) January 29, 2022
3:40 p.m.: According to NBC Sports’ Boston’s Tom Curran, Brady is currently overseas and even if he does decide to retire, a decision has not been finalized.
At the moment, Tom Brady is out of the country and plans to be abroad next week as well. While he may intend to retire, it seems like a final, final, FINAL decision hasn’t been rendered or articulated.
So this isn’t exactly “at ease” on the Brady front but “stand down for now.”
— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) January 29, 2022
3:39 p.m.: MMQB’s Albert Breer reported that Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said he has not heard about Brady’s decision to retire, and said others have said they did not know news of this decision was coming.
About an hour ago, I asked Bucs coach @BruceArians if @TomBrady had informed the team that he’s retiring. He responded via text, “No, he hasn’t.” Other key people here have also said privately they didn’t know this was coming.
We’ll see. https://t.co/YLLeapCkku
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 29, 2022
3:30 p.m.: Brady’s agent, Don Yee, issued a statement to Schefter that neither confirmed nor denied the report that he is retiring, but said that Brady “will be the only person to express his plans with complete accuracy.”
“He knows the realities of the football business and planning calendar as well as anybody, so that should be soon,” Yee said in the statement.
2:30 p.m.: According to ESPN, Brady’s career is over.
Brady made his decision based on family and health, per ESPN’s report, while also taking into account that the Buccaneers are likely to have roster turnover in 2022. The ESPN article noted Brady has not wanted a “farewell season,” with several close to him saying he did not want much drama leading up to the decision.
Over the last several weeks of the 2021 campaign, there were rumors circulating that Brady was playing his final season in the NFL, with ESPN reporting that the Buccaneers had been bracing for life after Brady. In Darlington and Schefter’s report, Tampa Bay was said to have hoped to make a pitch to keep Brady on board for one more season.
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What has Tom Brady said about his decision to retire?
Though Brady has yet to publicly comment on his decision to retire, he previously said his family would play a larger role in determining his future in the NFL, saying after his team’s loss to the Rams in the NFC divisional round that he felt like he could leave the game “proud and satisfied.”
“Playing football, I get so much joy from and I love it. But not playing football, there’s a lot of joy for that with me too, now,” Brady said on his “Let’s Go!” podcast with Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray. “As I’ve gotten older, the best part is, football is extremely important in my life, and it means a lot to me. And I care a lot about what we’re trying to accomplish as a team, and I care a lot about my teammates.
“The difference now that I’m older is I have kids now, too, and I care about them a lot as well.”
On the podcast, Brady said that winning games no longer feels as good as it used to, and said that winning felt more like a relief while defeats stung even more.
“I’m proud and satisfied of everything we accomplished this year,” Brady said. “I know when I give it my all, that’s something to be proud of. And I’ve literally given it everything I’ve had this year, last year and the year before that. I don’t leave anything half-assed.”
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Looking back at Tom Brady’s NFL career
Brady began his professional career as the ultimate underdog story after being drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. He sat behind Drew Bledsoe in his first season in New England before taking over as the starter in 2001. He led the Patriots to a Super Bowl win that year against the Rams, and he never looked back as the team’s starter.
He went on to win back-to-back Super Bowls in 2003 and 2004, and he claimed his first NFL MVP award in 2007, when he led the Patriots to an undefeated regular season and a Super Bowl berth. That year, he threw for 4,806 yards with a career-high 50 touchdowns.
Brady won his second MVP in 2010 and his third in 2017. In 2016, he led the Patriots to an improbable Super Bowl comeback from down 28-3 in the third quarter to a 34-28 overtime win against the Falcons. Brady reached two more Super Bowls with the Patriots after that victory, losing to the Eagles before defeating the Rams to claim his final ring in New England.
After the 2019 season, Brady left the Patriots to join the Buccaneers, winning a Super Bowl in his first year in Tampa Bay and pushing his NFL record to seven Super Bowl rings. Though the Buccaneers fell short of back-to-back titles in 2021, he still finished with a career-best 5,316 passing yards and led the league both in passing yardage and passing touchdowns (43) at the age of 44.