Why Tom Brady Retirement Wouldn’t Surprise Former Patriots Exec

'I wouldn't be shocked'

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Was Sunday’s divisional-round loss to the Los Angeles Rams the final game of Tom Brady’s storied career?

Michael Lombardi wouldn’t be surprised.

Lombardi, a former New England Patriots executive, said this week on his “The GM Shuffle” podcast that he could see Brady retiring this offseason, mentioning family dynamics and potential unrest within the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization.

“I wouldn’t be shocked,” Lombardi said. “I think his wife is going to have a big say in this. I think he truly enjoys his family. He knows his family has sacrificed for him tremendously. The reaction in the (luxury) box, you could see them (during Sunday’s game). They’re fully engaged. But just looking at his body language (Sunday), he wasn’t comfortable. I don’t think he felt like he was getting answers, and I think there are some things going on in that (Buccaneers) building. I think there’s no doubt.”

Lombardi also noted how LA’s final drive Sunday — two chunk-play completions to All-Pro wideout Cooper Kupp followed by a game-winning chip-shot field goal — likely wouldn’t have happened to Brady’s former team, signaling a potential disconnect between the 44-year-old quarterback and Bucs head coach Bruce Arians.

“Every Friday of his career, Brady would go into a meeting and sit on the lower seat of the left side of the room and he would watch (Bill) Belichick go through the ‘gotta have it’ players,” Lombardi said. “And Belichick would spend time saying, ‘When they need to make a play, it’s Cooper Kupp. They need a third down, it’s Cooper Kupp. Where’s the ball going? It’s Cooper Kupp.’

“So, for Brady to see that Cooper Kupp had 64 yards on the final drive when they gotta have it, he’s got to be saying to himself, ‘This probably wouldn’t have been the case in New England.’ “

Brady, aided by a litany of Rams miscues, led Tampa Bay back from a 27-3 second-half deficit before LA pulled out a 30-27 victory that ended the Bucs’ season. In the days since that defeat, Brady has yet to say whether he plans to return for a 23rd NFL season in 2022.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady
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