This story has been updated.
Tom Brady is retiring after a storied 22-year career. Or is he?
Soon after ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington reported that legendary quarterback was walking away from the game, sending the sports world into a fury of platitudes and tributes, a new report emerged dousing the ESPN story.
Brady’s agent Don Yee told MMQB’s Albert Breer to pump the brakes on retirement talk stating, “Tom will be the only person to express his plans with complete accuracy,” and Brady himself reportedly told the Buccaneers general manager that he has “not yet made his final decision on retirement.”
Update: However, this all could come down to the timing of the announcement, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports. That Brady “does intend to retire” and that “the pushback appears to be based on timing, rather than his eventual decision.”
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Sources told ESPN that Brady’s retirement “is based on several factors, including family and health.” Rumors of his upcoming retirement had been floating around since the Bucs’ loss to the Rams, and while he didn’t want a farewell season, it does feel a bit odd that, if the reports are true, Brady will end such a legendary career on a loss.
If not universally beloved, Brady is universally respected, and his praises are being sung all over social media by other legends of the game, as well as fans and media who have watched him play for the past two decades.
He spent 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, where he racked up All-Pro, MVP, and passing leader awards as well as leading the franchise to six Super Bowl victories. He got his seventh ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he spent the last two seasons. Under Pats coach Bill Belichick, Brady built a fearsome dynasty in New England.
At the end of the 2022 season, Brady ranked first all time in passing yards (84,520), completions (7,263), attempts (11,317) and touchdown passes (624). His greatest season was 2007, when he threw 50 touchdown as the Patriots went undefeated during the regular season before losing the Super Bowl to the New York Giants.
In most sports, there is an ongoing debate about who the greatest of all time is. The Jordan-Kobe-LeBron argument has spanned decades, the baseball GOAT conversation is complicated by steroid use, Tiger didn’t beat Niklaus’ majors record, Ronaldo vs. Messi may never be solved. But that’s not really the case in football. In a rare near-unanimous acknowledgment from fans of the sport, Tom Brady is the greatest to ever do it. Competitive with a work ethic that nears the point of insanity at times, Brady will finally hang up his pads at 44 years old, if the initial reports prove to be true.
Brady entered the University of Michigan far down on the QB depth chart, and after not seeing playing time for his first two years, he started his junior and senior years, when he beat both Ohio State and Alabama. Drafted in the sixth round by the Patriots after six other quarterbacks in his class had already been picked, he would go on to win by far the most games of any NFL QB in history, both with and without counting playoff games.
If the early report is true, this is the end of an era for football in America. Brady has been a fixture in the league for two decades and has set the standard going forward and has set countless records in the league that future QBs will be hard-pressed to compete with, due to the sheer amount of years that Brady not only played, but excelled.
Brady faced suspended for four games in 2015 after the DeflateGate scandal, in which it was alleged that he and the Patriots purposefully deflated footballs used for the 2015 AFC championship.