Stephen A. Smith believes Tom Brady isn’t ready to move off a goal he set for himself long ago.
Brady on many occasions has expressed a desire to play in the NFL in his mid-40s and potentially beyond. Smith is keeping this in mind while rumors about Brady’s potential retirement this offseason stack up. The “First Take” co-host also seems to believe the end of the Buccaneers’ 2021 season left a sour taste in Brady’s mouth.
“Antonio Brown betrayed him, betrayed the team,” Smith said Monday on ESPN. “You know, quit on them. That’s No. 1. You don’t anticipate that. Chris Godwin goes does down. Injuries happen, but you’re certainly not anticipating that while things are flowing. So you look at it from a standpoint from a Mike Evans, a Gronk (Rob Gronkowski), a (Cameron) Brate and other guys and if you’re Tom Brady, the thing that I continuously point to is the fact that he always talked about playing until he was 45. Last time I checked, he’s 44.
“He’ll be 45 next season and since he’s known as a guy that’s pretty good with his words — when he tells you what the mission is, he’s pretty good about following it. To me, leaving now would be a year early. I think it would be good for Tom Brady to walk into next season and let everybody know, ‘this is it.’ ‘Cause I think he deserves to be celebrated the way MJ (Michael Jordan) was celebrated, Dr. J (Julius Erving), Kobe (Bryant). I like that.”
Tampa Bay’s season ended in disappointment and was littered with frustration and distractions prior to the divisional-round loss to the Los Angeles Rams. But on the latest episode of his “Let’s Go!” podcast, Brady seemed at peace with how his 22nd campaign unfolded. The future Hall of Fame quarterback also made it clear he has no interest in a retirement tour.
That said, Smith isn’t the only noteworthy talking head who believes Brady will return for the 2022 campaign. Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin would be “shocked” if TB12 calls it a career in the coming months.