The Whirlwind of Tom Brady’s “Retirement”

Tom Brady needs no introduction in the sports world. Brady has a list of accolades and accomplishments that resemble the length of a CVS Pharmacy receipt. These accolades include winning 7 Super Bowls, 5 Super Bowl MVPs, 3 NFL MVPs, and passing for more yards and touchdowns than any other quarterback in NFL history. He has accomplished these over 22 seasons with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

For the past few years, rumors and speculation have swirled about when Brady would decide to hang up the cleats and retire from professional football. On Saturday, Jan. 29, it seemed like that day had arrived.

That morning, the official Twitter account of TB12 Sports, Brady’s sports brand, sent a now-deleted tweet congratulating the quarterback on a terrific career:

Shortly after, ESPN reporters Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington shared a joint release “confirming” Brady’s retirement:

This news sent social media into a frenzy, with fans of the quarterback sharing their thoughts on Brady’s career and retirement:

As fans flooded social media with their tributes to Brady, one aspect of the story stood out to many: Where was Brady’s official announcement?

In the last few seasons, Brady has become known for his hype videos on social media. With his presence on Instagram and Twitter, there was wonder why he would let his retirement be announced in such a way: How could it end with a tweet from TB12 Sports and a leak to Schefter and Darlington?

As the afternoon went on, no official announcement came from Brady’s camp. In the 3 o’clock hour, Schefter shared a statement from Brady’s long-term agent, Don Yee. “I understand the advance speculation about Tom’s future,” Yee said in the statement. “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.”

Around the same time, Mike Giardi of the NFL Network shared a quote from Brady’s father, Tom Brady, Sr. “This story, Mike (Giardi), is total conjecture,” Brady, Sr. said to Giardi. “Tommy has not made a final decision one way or the other and anybody else that says that he has is absolutely wrong.”

Additionally, Bally Sports reported that Brady had contacted Buccaneers’ general manager Jason Licht and told him he hasn’t yet made a final decision on the future of his playing career.

As of this writing, Brady himself has not released a statement.

The timing of this retirement announcement had more questions than answers surrounding it. Previously, Brady has expressed interest in playing until he was 45, which would take him into the 2022-23 season. His current contract with the Buccaneers also expires in his year-45 season. Brady is also coming off of a career year, leading the league in completions (485), passing yards (5,316), and touchdowns (43), making him an MVP candidate.

After the Buccaneers’ last-second loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Round this season, Brady did discuss his thoughts on his future. “It pains her to see me get hit out there,” Brady said on his Let’s Go podcast. “And she deserves what she needs from me as a husband and my kids deserve what they need from me as a dad.”

Brady would continue: “Playing football I get so much joy from.  I love it.  But not playing football, there’s a lot of joy in that for me also now, too, with my kids getting older and seeing them develop and grow.  So all these things need to be considered and they will be.”

Does the greatest football player of all time plan on retiring? Or was today a misunderstanding? Time will tell. But, for the moment, Tom Brady is still scheduled to play next season.

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