Why was this the year Tom Brady finally chose to end his NFL career? The newly retired quarterback offered a lengthier explanation Monday during his “Let’s Go!” podcast.
Brady, who once said he’d retire once he “sucked,” said he didn’t walk away because his skills had diminished or his body had worn down. That much was clear during his 22nd and final season, when he posted MVP-caliber numbers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at age 44.
The impetus for his retirement, Brady explained, was a desire to focus more on the non-football aspects of his life — namely his family and his various business ventures.
“I don’t think it’s, you know, a physical thing,” Brady told co-host Jim Gray. “I mean, it does require a lot of time and energy. That’s just the nature of football and if you wanna be good at it, you’ve got to commit all the time and energy you can to it. … I’ve been to the Kentucky Derby a lot. So I look at those horses, and they have the blinders on, and you literally are just running full speed as fast as you can for basically the entire season and there’s no time to look right or left. And there’s a lot of things that are happening in your life that, because you don’t look right or left, you’re still looking straight ahead, that you miss some things. You know, there just comes a time for all of us where we’ve got to decide, you know, what we want to look going forward.
“I can always look at the past and look at all the teams we’ve had and all the success and stuff and the amazing relationships and all the great teammates. I’ve seen so many great players retire over the years. The game just goes on, and it should. It’s going to outlast everybody. But I was fortunate to do it for a long time, for 22 years. I did it at the highest level and I had the best teammates and mentors and coaches and friends. And, again, it’s just pretty simple — it’s just there’s time for other things. I need to make time for other things in my life. And it’s exciting for me to be able to really enjoy some of those new moments, as well.”
But Brady wasn’t ready to say his retirement will be permanent. He left the door open for a potential NFL return.
“I’m just going to take things as they come,” Brady said. “I think that’s the best way to put it. I don’t think anything — you know, you never say never. At the same time, I know that I feel very good about my decision.”
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