Confusion reigns following conflicting reports that legendary Super Bowl champion Tom Brady is retiring
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after beating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.
Mark J. Rebilas | USA TODAY Sports | Reuters
Legendary quarterback Tom Brady has contacted Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht to inform him that he has yet to make a final decision regarding his future in the sport, NBC News reported Saturday.
It comes after ESPN and other outlets reported Brady had decided he would retire from the sport after 22 seasons.
Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl champion, has been widely expected to announce a decision for the upcoming season in the coming weeks.
Brady’s agent, declining to comment on the accuracy of the reports, said Brady alone will be able to share his plans with “complete accuracy.”
“I understand the advance speculation about Tom’s future. 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,” Donald Yee said in a statement to CNBC.
During a recent episode of his podcast “Let’s Go,” Brady told co-host Jim Gray there is joy in “not playing football” and spending time with his family.
Brady, 44, left the New England Patriots in 2020 and signed with the Buccaneers to take them to their first Super Bowl in 18 years. Brady became the oldest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl ring at age 43.
But confusion quickly escalated following the ESPN report.
As reports of Brady’s retirement spread on Saturday, Brady’s company TB12sports tweeted its thanks to the quarterback along with a list of his wins. The company later deleted the tweet. The National Football League had also briefly changed parts of its social media accounts to say “#ThankYouTom” but changed it back.
The NFL declined to comment.
Buccaneers executives and coaches had been bracing for Brady’s retirement in the past few weeks, ESPN reported. On his podcast, Brady had said there was “no rush” from the Bucs coaching staff and management in deciding whether to return to play.
After leaving the field following the Buccaneers’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams, ESPN said Brady likely knew it was his last act in the sport. Brady has been against the idea of a “farewell tour,” however, saying it could be “distracting.”
“I’m proud and satisfied with everything we accomplished this year,” he said about the Bucs season and his own performance. “I know when I give it my all, that’s something to be proud of. And I’ve literally given everything I had, this year, last year and the year before that.”
Tom Brady waves to cheering fans as he leaves the field following the Bucs victory. The New England Patriots host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a regular season NFL game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021.
Jim Davis | Boston Globe | Getty Images
Drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady would depart the NFL as one of the most elite quarterbacks that ever played the sport.
Brady appeared in the Super Bowl 10 times, winning seven with two teams. He’s won five Super Bowl MVPs, made 15 Pro Bowls, and was named Associated Press NFL MVP three times. The player who many labeled the GOAT, or greatest of all time, of NFL quarterbacks was also famous for leading teams to victories in the final moments of games.
Brady is second in all-time in NFL game-winning drives with 53, trailing only Peyton Manning who has 54. He also trails Manning in comeback wins with 42. One of the most notable Brady-led comebacks was Super Bowl LI. Though trailing 28-3 in the third quarter to the Atlanta Falcons, Brady still engineered a 34-28 Patriots win.
But Brady would finish his NFL career first all-time in pass touchdowns (624), passing yards (84,520), and passes completed (7,263).
Recalling Brady’s greatness to CNBC last April, former NFL running back LeSean McCoy mentioned watching him execute in past scrimmages between the Philadelphia Eagles and Patriots.
McCoy, who played with Brady with the Bucs during the 2020 season, called him a “drill Sergeant, and then actually playing with him, I could see it. He’s so intense and smart,” LeSean said. “I’ve never played with a quarterback like that.”
But Brady’s career does include on-the-field controversy.
In 2016, he served a four-game suspension for his role in “DeflateGate.” The incident involved the Patriots, who were accused of deflating game balls against the Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC championship game. The NFL fined the Patriots $1 million and docked the franchise two draft picks.
On the field, Brady earned nearly $300 million in earnings, according to Spotrac, a website that tracks sports contracts. Forbes estimates Brady makes $31 million in annual endorsements. And last June, Brady aligned with the crypto world with his investment in platform FTX.
—CNBC’s Jessica Golden contributed to this report.