Is Tom Brady retiring? Buccaneers, Patriots QB reportedly ends NFL career after 22 seasons

By | January 29, 2022

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?

4:00 p.m. ET: 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.

3:40 p.m. ET: 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.

3:39 p.m. ET: 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.

3:30 p.m. ET: 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. ET: 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.