It was Buccaneers or bust — and Tom Brady chose bust.
ESPN.com reported that Brady alerted the Buccaneers at 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning he was choosing to call it a career.
“Brady for months implied to many close to him that it was going to be either a return to Tampa or retirement,” Jeff Darlington tweeted. “Tough for many to believe, including those close, but he meant it.”
Even before the Buccaneers’ season had concluded, speculation was rampant that Brady would look to move on from the team. The team sputtered to an 8-9 season, good enough to win a terrible NFC South, but never a true Super Bowl contender. The Cowboys routed them, 31-14, in the wild-card round of the playoffs in what will now be Brady’s final game.
The 49ers, Raiders, Dolphins, Titans, and Jets were among the many teams mentioned as possibilities if Brady opted for a second foray into free agency. Instead, an emotional Brady announced on Wednesday morning that he was going to retire “for good.”
“Hey guys, I’ll get to the point right away. I’m retiring. For good,” an emotional Brady said in the brief video on the beach that he posted on social media Wednesday morning. “I know the process was a pretty big deal last time, so when I woke up this morning I figured I’d just press record and let you guys know first.
“You only get one super emotional retirement essay and I used mine up last year. I really thank you guys so much, to every single one of you for supporting me: My family, my friends, my teammates, my competitors. I could go on forever. There’s too many. Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream.”
Brady spent the first 20 years of his career with the Patriots, winning six Super Bowls alongside head coach Bill Belichick. Darlington reported on “SportsCenter” that someone close to Brady mentioned the possibility of returning to New England, which some had speculated on this offseason. Brady dismissed the possibility, though,
Brady signed with the Buccaneers in the 2020 offseason and won a Super Bowl in his first year in Tampa Bay.
“Tom’s legacy is unmatched in the history of this game. All the Super Bowl titles and statistical records speak for themselves, but the impact he had on so many people though the years is what I appreciate the most,” Buccaneers GM Jason Licht said in a statement. “His imprint on this organization helped take us to the mountaintop. We will certainly miss him as our quarterback, but I will also miss him as a leader and friend.
“Our entire organization is indebted to him for what he provided us over the past three years. We won’t ever forget the wins or the accolades and his influence will be felt for years to come.”
Now, Brady must decide on life after football as he also navigates through life apart from Gisele Bündchen following their divorce in October.
Brady signed a 10-year, $375 million contract with Fox last offseason that is now waiting for him in retirement. There are no plans for Brady to go in the booth for Super Bowl 2023, with Greg Olsen, the current top analyst, alongside play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt.