Tom Brady officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday.
In a lengthy message posted to his social media channels, the 44-year-old quarterback wrote that “it’s best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes.”
“I have always believed the sport of football is an ‘all-in’ proposition — if a 100% competitive commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game,” Brady wrote. “There is a physical, mental, and emotional challenge EVERY single day that has allowed me to maximize my highest potential. And I have tried my very best these past 22 years. There are no shortcuts to success on the field of life.
“This is difficult for me to write, but here goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention.”
Brady played 22 NFL seasons — 20 with the New England Patriots and two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A no-doubt, first-ballot Hall of Famer, the 2000 sixth-round draft pick won seven Super Bowls, played in three others and set a slew of NFL passing records, including the all-time marks for yards, attempts, completions and touchdowns.
In his retirement announcement, Brady thanked all members of the Buccaneers organization, the city of Tampa, his body coach Alex Guerrero, his agents Don Yee and Steve Dubin, his parents and siblings, and his wife and children. His post makes no mention of the Patriots or New England.
News of Brady’s impending retirement first was reported Saturday by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington. At the time, Brady and those close to him denied that he had made a final decision. The QB maintained that stance as recently as Monday night, saying on his “Let’s Go!” podcast that would make an announcement “when the time is right.” Evidently, that time was Tuesday morning.
In his final season, Brady led the NFL in pass attempts, completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns and finished as Pro Football Focus’s highest-graded quarterback, making a legitimate case for his fourth NFL MVP award. His career ended with a 30-27 loss to the eventual NFC champion Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round.
Brady, a master of late-game comebacks, erased a 27-3 second-half deficit in that game, only for the Bucs to lose on a defensive breakdown.
“My playing career has been such a thrilling ride, and far beyond my imagination, and full of ups and downs,” Brady wrote. “When you’re in it every day, you really don’t think about any kind of ending. As I sit here now, however, I think of all the great players and coaches I was privileged to play with and against — the competition was fierce and deep, JUST HOW WE LIKE IT. But the friendships and relationships are just as fierce and keep.
“I will remember and cherish these memories and re-visit them often. I feel like the luckiest person in the world.”