Seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady will retire after 22 NFL seasons, according to multiple US media reports Saturday. The 44-year-old signal caller won his record seventh crown last year with Tampa Bay after taking six in 20 years with the New England Patriots. ESPN and the NFL Network reported Brady will hang up his helmet and cleats while CBS Sports declared his retirement was imminent, all citing unnamed sources.
Brady’s agent, Don Yee, would not confirm the gridiron legend’s plans, only saying that nothing will be official until Brady says it is.
“I understand the advance speculation about Tom’s future," Yee said in a statement to ESPN. “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.
“He knows the realities of the football business and planning calendar as well as anybody, so that should be soon."
There was a sense that Brady did not wish to overshadow Sunday’s NFL playoff games by making an announcement, but the reports drew wide reaction from around the league.
“All the moments. All the memories. Thank you for everything," the NFL tweeted, also sending, “GOAT" for Greatest of All Time and “Nobody Did It Better" with a list of Brady’s historic achievements.
Brady’s own company, TB12sports, seemed to indicate his mind was made up with a tweet “7 Super Bowl Rings. 5 Super Bowl MVPs. 3 League MVP Awards. 22 Incredible Seasons. Thank you for it all, @TomBrady" but they later deleted it.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not join in the twitter farewells for Brady and only posted Brady highlights from the 2021 season on their website.
BallySports reported that Brady had told Bucs general manager Jason Licht he had not made a decision, and Licht saying he would await official word from Brady on his decision.
A reporter for KRON TV in San Francisco tweeted that Brady’s father said the retirement reports were untrue.
Brady is a five-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player and three-time NFL season MVP. He won a record 243 regular-season gams.
Brady set NFL passing records with 7,263 completions on 11,317 attempts for 84,520 yards and 624 touchdowns.
He guided the Buccaneers to last year’s Super Bowl title in his first season at Tampa Bay, then led them back into this year’s playoffs, only to lose 30-27 to the Los Angeles Rams.
Brady made an NFL one-season record 485 completions in the 2021 campaign for a career-high 5,316 passing yards, indicating that he could continue playing but will walk away on his own terms.
Brady had said on his podcast last week that, “It’s not always what I want. It’s what we as a family want. And I’m going to spend a lot of time with them and figure out in the future what’s next."
Asked about a timetable, Brady said only, “I’ll know when I know."
Brady’s exit would be the second retirement by a legendary NFL passer of the week after Pittsburgh Steelers star Ben Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl winner, announced his retirement on Thursday.
ESPN reported Brady’s decision was based on several factors, including his family, his health and the need for the Buccaneers to make several roster moves in the off-season.
“Thanks for everything big bro it was an honor," Bucs receiver Mike Evans tweeted.
“The best ever," tweeted Bucs receiver Chris Godwin. “Congratulations bro @TomBrady grateful to have gotten to share the field with you! Much love fam."
Former New England teammate and long-time Brady pal Julian Edelman tweeted, “Thanks for the memories, babe."