After a long and glittering (and occasional headline making but not for the right reasons) career with the New England Patriots, quarterback Tom Brady made the switch to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2020 NFL season. Shortly thereafter he added a fantastic seventh Super Bowl win ring to his collection and having announced that he actually played through the pain barrier at points in 2020, few were surprised when he allowed his contract to expire in 2022 and officially announced his retirement.
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It had been a fantastic career and with seven Super Bowl wins to his name, as well as joining the legend that was Peyton Manning as being only the second QB to lead two different teams to the ultimate prize, he became the first to win the Super Bowl MVP with two different franchises.
That does not even account for the many other awards and honours his career in the NFL has awarded him.
What did surprise many in the game, is 40 days after announcing his retirement, he threw the Bucs a Hail Mary and announced a u-turn, signing a new contract with them for the 2022 campaign. This is old news, of course, but Brady more recently has opened up on the thinking behind his decision, and he admitted that he felt pressure to change his mind owning to free agency and his ultimate indecision came down to commitments to his family.
Speaking at a roundtable featuring Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, he explained.
“At this stage, it’s like 55% yes and 45% no. It’s not 100-0. That’s just the reality. It’s not that I’m not 100% committed, it’s just as soon as I make the commitment to do it, it’s like, ‘Ugh. All right, here we go.’ It’s like running a marathon. You can’t decide two weeks before the marathon, ‘Hey, I’m going to start running.’ We got right to free agency and I felt some pressure to do it and talked to the team and organization, and it all worked out.”
Pushed further on whether the 44-year-old was ready to retire or not, he added.
“Partly, you know, yes. And I think when you’re their [Mahomes’ and Allen’s] age, if you were to ask me, ‘Are you going to play football next year?’ I would say there’s a 100% chance I’m playing. And I think as I’ve gotten older, that’s changed because I have other responsibilities. So the responsibilities are many people taking care of me and things that I have off the field that are really important to me like my family, my kids; my wife’s done an amazing job of that. That’s a big commitment from her, so it’s harder when you get older. I don’t even think they know what’s coming. Aaron [Rodgers] knows these things because your life gets bigger as we all do, our life gets more full — there’s more responsibilities.”
Having changed his mind once already, at the end of the 2022 betting season Brady becomes an unrestricted free agent and he has so far refused to be drawn on what his immediate future beyond 2022 will hold – and ultimately he will go out on his terms and that will be decided by what he thinks his body can now handle at his experienced age and what he can still contribute. He certainly does not need to chase further on grid glory, but with his brain and talent, a lot of NFL fans would not be surprised if he pivoted to a more coaching role, even if he remained as a back up on the roster.
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