Tom Brady declines to speculate on future after Buccaneers’ season-ending loss — for now

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Tom Brady understands there is interest in his future amid rumors that the 44-year-old is finally considering retirement.

The Buccaneers quarterback offered a brief update on what his future holds in a Tuesday Instagram post — namely, that he has no update. Brady, whose second season with the Buccaneers ended with a divisional-round loss to the Rams, said he is merely reflecting on what has been an “incredibly rewarding” season in Tampa Bay.

MORE: Is Tom Brady retiring? Buccaneers QB addresses rumors after playoff loss to Rams

“I understand that at this stage in my career, there is going to be interest in my future whenever a season ends, but this week, all that is on my mind is the gratitude I have for this team and the fans that have supported us all year long,” Brady said in his post. “This year has been incredibly rewarding personally and professionally and I am appreciative of everyone who worked their ass off to help our team achieve so much.”

Brady is under contract with the Buccaneers through the 2022 season.

MORE: What’s next for Tom Brady, Buccaneers? Playoff loss to Rams may not signal end to Super run, retirement

Rumors began swirling Sunday morning that Brady — who later that day would conclude his 22nd year in the NFL with a loss — would consider hanging up the cleats for good after the 2021 campaign, regardless of whether the Bucs went back-to-back as Super Bowl champions. Among the reasons listed for a possible retirement: focusing on non-football ventures, such as movies and clothing lines, and spending more time with his family.

Indeed, Brady confirmed that his family will play a significant role in whether he decides to return to play in 2022.

“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,” he said. “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.

“It pains (Gisele Bundchen) to see me get hit out there,” Brady said. “And she deserves what she needs from me as a husband and my kids deserve what they need from me as a dad.”

MORE: Tom Brady says family will play key role in retirement decision: ‘It’s not always what I want’

Brady has said previously that he intended to play through his entire contract with the Buccaneers, which would be his Age 45 season in 2022. He had even suggested that, physically, he could play until he’s 50.

That said, it’s uncertain whether the outcome of Sunday’s game will affect Brady’s decision to return for another season. He also said he’d have rather ended the season in a loss than not play at all:

“As much as the losing hurts,” he said, “it’s much more enjoyable for me to be in the arena than not in the arena.”

In the end, the person who can best divine what the future holds for Brady … is Brady himself. For now, it might be a mystery even to him.

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