On February 1, 2023, the greatest quarterback to ever play in the NFL finally stepped away, when Tom Brady sent out a video announcement that he was retiring. A former sixth-round pick, he had gone from longshot to legend. Now, after garnering seven Super Bowl rings, five League MVP awards, and every major passing record in the book, the warrior was walking away.
Brady filed his retirement papers to the NFL and NFLPA nine days later, essentially putting a bow on an unmatched legacy. A punctuation mark at the end of the most prolific paragraph ever written in pro-pigskin history.
At least? That’s what we think has happened. For now.
Earlier this month, there were some signs that Brady may still have the bug to play. He’s already retired and un-retired in the past, and there are many observers who believe he’s regretting his decision to quit.
For someone with his overactive competitive streak, it almost seems unnatural. Also, for those that have watched him over the years and are familiar with the calculating way he approaches things, it all seemed a little off. Perhaps even a bit hastened.
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There were reports before his announcement that multiple teams were interested, but it was Las Vegas that it appeared might be Brady’s home in 2023. Head Coach Josh McDaniels has a long history with Tom Terrific in New England, and longtime starting QB Derek Carr was on his way out of the door in the desert. But it didn’t make it much further than the dreaming stage.
From there, it was over. Brady made his peace with the finality of his career, and now he’s ready to move on to broadcasting, right? There would be no more signing of football contracts unless he decided to take the one offered by New England owner Robert Kraft: a one-day deal to retire as a Patriot.
Although he announced that he’s retired “for good” this time, Tom Brady will still become an unrestricted free agent on March 15.
So, technically, TB12 could make a return elsewhere in 2023. And while that doesn’t seem likely, there are a few factors that at least offer some hints that it’s still an option.
It’s clear that the veteran signal-caller doesn’t want any part of what is happening in Tampa Bay right now, but the right situation could change his status rather quickly. Whether that’s by signing in the off-season or joining a club after Week 1.
While Brady has a huge deal on the table from FOX Sports to be their ace color commentator, that won’t start until 2024. Did The G.O.A.T. do that on purpose, so he could buy himself some time? Is he already planning for both life after football, but focusing on playing right now?
On the Feb 6 edition of The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Tom Brady talked about his decision to retire from the NFL. However, he danced around the question of whether or not he would consider returning. Instead, he remained contrite about his play and performance over the years.
“I think for me, I know in my heart how I feel,” Brady stated. “I felt like I’ve given a lot, I’ve gained a lot. I’ve learned a lot. And life is about, you know, exciting things ahead. I think when one thing closes like football has for me, you know 32 years of my life. And it’s hard to make decisions like that, but it’s certainly the right time.”
While it seems unlikely, another Brady return would instantly be the talk of pro sports. Even in a down year in 2022, the 45-year-old showed that he was still among the top players in his position.
Perhaps he will stay retired, or maybe he searches for one more shot with some new scenery. It seems that for now, Tom Brady has chosen to be ‘The Batman of the NFL’… capable of emerging to save the day at any time.
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