Bucs quarterback Tom Brady retires for good this time

The future Hall of Famer, who said he wouldn’t be rushed into a decision this year, posts a short video message on social media saying goodbye.
Published Feb. 1|Updated Feb. 2

Tom Brady said he was getting straight to the point this time.

Choking back tears, an emotional Brady announced what he said is a retirement he won’t rescind with a brief video post on social media shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday.

“I’m retiring … for good,” Brady said.

One year ago to the day, the quarterback first announced his retirement from football with a lengthy post on Instagram. But 40 days later, he decided to return to the Bucs and play a 23rd NFL season.

“You only get one super emotional retirement essay, and I used mine up last year,” Brady said Wednesday.

The Bucs struggled to an 8-9 regular season, Brady’s first losing season as a starter, but still won the NFC South for the second straight year.

It was one of the toughest seasons of Brady’s career, punctuated by having to leave training camp for 11 days for personal reasons. On Oct. 28, he announced his divorce from Gisele Bundchen after 13 years of marriage.

This time, Brady indicated there would be no change of heart. “I know the process was a pretty big deal last time, so when I woke up this morning, I figured I would just press record and let you guys know first,” he said.

“I really thank you guys so much, to every single one of you for supporting me. My family, my friends, my teammates, my competitors. I could go on forever. There’s too many.”

Brady, 45, finishes an unprecedented career in which he won seven Super Bowls, including one with the Bucs in the 2020 season, and 19 division titles.

Related: A timeline of Tom Brady's tenure in Tampa Bay

A sixth-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2000, Brady took over as the Patriots starter following his rookie season and won three Super Bowls in the next four years. A decade passed without New England winning a championship before Brady began another run of Super Bowl victories in the 2014, 2016 and 2018 seasons. He won 35 playoff games, more than 27 active franchises.

“What a ride,” former Bucs coach Bruce Arians said in a text to the Tampa Bay Times. “We were very lucky to have him choose us. Great player. Better dude.”

Brady was set to become a free agent in March and would have had many opportunities to continue playing.

While the Bucs struggled this season, Brady still set an NFL regular-season record for completions (490) while attempting a career-high 733 passes for 4,694 yards, with 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

The Raiders, 49ers and Titans are among the teams that would likely have had an interest in signing Brady. But many close to Brady believed that the only team he may have considered playing for in 2023 was the Bucs.

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This season didn't end the way Tom Brady and the Bucs wanted it to, but Brady still was setting league records until the end.
This season didn't end the way Tom Brady and the Bucs wanted it to, but Brady still was setting league records until the end. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

But Brady was said to be exhausted from a very difficult season on and off the field. What’s more, coach Todd Bowles’ team is undergoing a transition. Bowles fired offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and five other assistants after the season. Three members of the staff retired, including quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen.

With 24 potential free agents and being $55 million over the $224.8 million salary cap for next season, the Bucs didn’t appear to be well-positioned to make another Super Bowl run.

Brady also has three children, all living on the East Coast. His older son, Jack, 15, lives in New York with his mother, actor Bridget Moynahan. His younger son, Benjamin, 13, and daughter, Vivian, 10, live with Bundchen in South Florida, where Brady owns a home.

The Bucs were informed of Brady’s retirement around 6 a.m. Wednesday. It was surprising only because Brady had vowed to take more time than he did a year ago before making a decision.

The timing of Brady’s announcement caught the Bucs off-guard. Three hours after his announcement, they issued a series of statements.

Related: What they're saying about Tom Brady's retirement

General manager Jason Licht: “His imprint on this organization helped take us to the mountaintop. We will certainly miss him as our quarterback, but I will also miss him as a leader and friend. Our entire organization is indebted to him for what he provided us over the past three years. We won’t ever forget the wins or the accolades, and his influence will be felt for years to come.”

The Glazer family: “(Brady) set an exceptional standard that elevated our entire organization to new heights and created some of the most iconic moments in our history.”

Unlike the last time he retired, Brady has a plan for his post-playing career. He signed a 10-year, $375 million contract with Fox in May 2022 to be the lead NFL analyst. It’s possible he could begin working next week in some capacity since Fox is televising Super Bowl 57 between the Chiefs and Eagles.

He also has a vast business portfolio. It includes TB12, the health and fitness company he began with trainer Alex Guerrero; the BRADY clothing brand; Autograph, an NFT platform company; 199 Productions; and endorsements with Hertz, Under Armour and watch maker IWC Schaffhausen, among others.

A year ago, news of Brady’s retirement leaked about three days before his lengthy Instagram post. On Wednesday, Brady posted a video that lasted less than a minute. He also posted on Instagram a series of photographs of his family, including his three children and parents, Tom Sr. and Galynn. His parents were on the field at Raymond James Stadium following what became Brady’s final game, a 31-14 wild-card loss to the Cowboys.

Christensen said that while he knows Brady seems at peace with his decision, it’s a big loss for NFL fans.

“I’m always happy for him. I hate it for all us football fans,” Christensen said. “I think he’s still playing so well and brings so much to the game. Anytime you have a humble superstar, in my mind in any sport, just makes your sport better. He’s been that. He’s been a humble superstar. A humble, winning superstar. There’s a handful of them out there, and if you get a chance to be around them, it’s pretty darned special.”

Brady became emotional before completing his video.

“Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream. I wouldn’t change a thing. I love you all.”

Contact Rick Stroud at Follow @NFLSTROUD.

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