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Tom Brady says thank you, but not goodbye

The Bucs quarterback posts that there’s a lot of “interest in my future whenever a season ends” but says he’s grateful to those who helped make it a success.
The Bucs and the NFL anxiously await word from Tom Brady about whether the quarterback plans to continue playing or to retire.
The Bucs and the NFL anxiously await word from Tom Brady about whether the quarterback plans to continue playing or to retire. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Jan. 25|Updated Jan. 25

TAMPA ― As the Bucs and the NFL wait to hear whether Tom Brady is going to play or retire, the quarterback had something else to say Tuesday: Thank you.

In a social-media post, Brady said he understands the interest in his future but wanted to take time to express his appreciation for all those who made the 2021 Bucs season so special, including the fans.

“I understand that at this stage in my career, there is going to be interest in my future whenever the season ends, but this week, all that is on my mind is the gratitude I have for this team and the fans that have supported us all year long,” Brady wrote. “This year has been incredibly rewarding personally and professionally and I’m appreciative of everyone who worked their ass off to help our team achieve so much.”

The Bucs won a franchise-record 13 games in the regular season and beat the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC wild-card game before losing in the division round to the Rams after Brady led them back from a 24-point deficit.

Meanwhile, Brady led the NFL with 5,316 passing yards and 43 touchdowns at age 44.

While the Bucs’ season ended in heartbreaking fashion, Brady didn’t view it as a failure if it was his last in the NFL.

“I always want to win, that’s pretty apparent by now,” he wrote on Instagram. “But that doesn’t mean I equate losing to failure, especially when you go out fighting the way we did. ... There’s so much to appreciate in a season like this when you’re surrounded by a team that believes in each other and plays for the people standing on either side of them. I’ll spare you the Man in the Arena quote, but that feeling is something that I promise I will never take for granted. To everyone that was part of this year, thank you. I love you all.”

Brady said during the Let’s Go! podcast with Jim Gray Monday that he has to take some time to decide whether he wants to resume his career.

Brady is under contract with the Bucs for 2022 and has said in the past he would like to play until he was 45. But his kids are getting older and he wants to be the best dad and father he can be, as well.

“It pains (my wife) to see me get hit out there,’' Brady said on the podcast. “And she deserves what she needs from me as a husband, my kids deserve what they need from me as a dad.”

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