Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has officially announced his retirement from the NFL, saying Tuesday in an Instagram post that he is “not going to make that competitive commitment anymore.”
“I have always believed the sport of football is an ‘all-in’ proposition — if a 100% competitive commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game,” Brady said in his statement on Instagram. “There is a physical, mental and emotional challenge EVERY single day that has allowed me to maximize my highest potential. And I have tried my very best these past 22 years. There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life.
“This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention. I’ve done a lot of reflecting the past week and have asked myself difficult questions. And I am so proud of what we have achieved. My teammates, coaches, fellow competitors, and fans deserve 100% of me, but right now, it’s best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes.”
Brady, 44, widely considered the greatest quarterback in NFL history, won seven Lombardi trophies, the most championships won by a single player, along with five Super Bowl MVPs.
He rewrote much of the NFL record book with personal and team accomplishments. He piled up career records such as most touchdown passes (624) and most passing yards (84,250) in his 22 seasons — of which 20 were with the New England Patriots.
“My playing career has been such a thrilling ride, and far beyond my imagination, and full of ups and downs,” Brady said in his statement. “When you’re in it every day, you really don’t think about any kind of ending. As I sit here now, however, I think of all the great players and coaches I was privileged to play with and against — the competition was fierce and deep, JUST HOW WE LIKE IT. But the friendships and relationships are just as fierce and deep. I will remember and cherish these memories and re-visit them often. I feel like the luckiest person in the world.”
Brady, who led the Bucs to a Super Bowl title last season and NFC South championship this season, has been adamant for weeks that he never wanted a “farewell season,” sources told ESPN.
It was quite the ride.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) February 1, 2022
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 1, 2022
Buccaneers executives and coaches have been bracing for Brady’s retirement in recent weeks, recognizing that it was more likely than not that he would hang it up after the season, team sources told ESPN.
“To my Bucs teammates the past two years, I love you guys, and I have loved going to battle with you,” Brady said in his post. “You have dug so deep to challenge yourself, and it inspired me to wake up every day and give you my best. I am always here for you guys and want to see you continue to push yourselves to be your best. I couldn’t be happier with what we accomplished together.”
In his announcement, Brady thanked everyone with the Bucs, his business partners, his agents and his family. While he reflected on his career, he did not specifically mention his time with the Patriots or anybody within the organization, though he did that when he left the team and signed with the Bucs in March 2020.
“Words cannot describe the feelings I have for Tom Brady, nor adequately express the gratitude my family, the New England Patriots and our fans have for Tom for all he did during his career,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. “A generation of football fans have grown up knowing only an NFL in which Tom Brady dominated. …
“You didn’t have to be a Patriots fan to respect and appreciate his competitiveness, determination and will to win that fueled his success. As a fan of football, it was a privilege to watch. As a Patriots fan, it was a dream come true.”
Sources told ESPN on Saturday that Brady had chosen to retire, but Brady’s family and the Bucs had said that a final decision had not been reached. On Monday, Brady said on his SiriusXM podcast that he wasn’t ready to finalize his plans.
“Tom Brady will be remembered as one of the greatest to ever play in the NFL,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement released Tuesday. “An incredible competitor and leader, his stellar career is remarkable for its longevity but also for the sustained excellence he displayed year after year.
“Tom made everyone around him better and always seemed to rise to the occasion in the biggest moments. … He inspired fans in New England, Tampa and around the world with one of the greatest careers in NFL history. It has been a privilege to watch him compete and have him in the NFL. We thank him for his many contributions to our game and wish Tom and his family all the best in the future.”
After 20 seasons with New England that had already cemented his legacy, Brady joined the Buccaneers in 2020 and immediately added another chapter to his story with a seventh Super Bowl title — the first won by a team in its own stadium.
“Tom joined us as the greatest football player of all time, and he quickly showed everyone in our organization what that meant,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday. “He set a standard and helped create a culture that took our team to the mountaintop.
“It has been an honor to be his head coach for the past two seasons. I wish it didn’t have to end, but few players have the opportunity to leave the game on their own terms. Even fewer can do it while playing at an elite level. Tom is the exception. I have a deep appreciation and respect for what he has done for our franchise, and I wish him and his family nothing but the best in this next chapter of life after football.”