Is Tom Brady Actually Retired? Kevin Wildes Floats NFL Comeback Theory

Not everyone is buying that Brady's career is over

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Kevin Wildes, a talking head on FS1, wondered Wednesday whether Tom Brady’s eyebrow-raising retirement Instagram post left the door open for “something massive” between the quarterback and the New England Patriots.

Maybe a one-day contract. Maybe a statue outside Gillette Stadium. Maybe a separate social media blowout to celebrate Brady’s two decades in Foxboro. Who knows.

Well, on Thursday, Wildes offered another theory regarding TB12, who seemingly announced his NFL retirement Tuesday after spending his final two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I do not,” Wildes said on “First Things First” of whether he believes Brady is actually retired. “First of all, he hasn’t said he’s retired. So I do think that the door is slightly open. I think he’ll be retired when he submits his retirement papers to the league office.

“Here’s the thing: I don’t think that this is a hot take that Brady is more likely to come back than stay retired. And I understand why people are like, ‘Huh? What? Why? That would be so weird.’ It’s not. Because I think people are looking at it through three superstars and their own personal experiences.”

Brady performed at an MVP-caliber level during the 2021 season. So, his decision to walk away really has nothing to do with his ability to perform between the lines.

As such, Wildes noted that comparisons have been made to Barry Sanders, Calvin Johnson and Jim Brown — “guys who had more in the tank, were healthy and decided to shut it down.”

Brady, the greatest quarterback in NFL history, clearly is in a league of his own, though. And while Brady will turn 45 in August, there are plenty of examples of superstar athletes returning from retirement.

“This side of the ledger, you’ve got Barry Sanders, Calvin Johnson and Jim Brown,” Wildes said. “On this side of the ledger, I’m going to give you a list of great players who had more in the tank, who announced their retirement and came back: Brett Favre, Michael Jordan twice, Michael Phelps, Mario Lemieux, Reggie White, Randy Moss, Deion Sanders.

“And I know the argument like, ‘Well, they weren’t that old.’ Roger Clemens was 41 years old hanging out in Texas and said, ‘You know what? Why don’t I pitch for the Astros and win the Cy Young and the ERA title?’ So on this side, there’s three guys. And on this side, I just named 10 guys and I didn’t even talk about every boxer who’s ever lived.”

Wildes, it should be noted, is a Patriots fan. And Brady won six of his seven Super Bowl titles with New England while building an unprecedented résumé. So, perhaps there’s some denial at play as the GOAT calls it a career after 22 NFL seasons, 20 of which he spent with the Pats.

Whatever the case, Wildes wouldn’t be shocked to see Brady return to the gridiron at some point. After all, Wildes explained, we’re talking about the ultimate competitor.

“So I think it is more likely that Tom Brady still has the fire that he can still do it and will come back,” Wildes said. “Will he play 17 games, 20 games (with) the playoffs? Maybe not. Could I see him coming back in the middle of the season, at the end of the season — when he’s like, ‘You know what? This itch, I still have it. That’s what made me the best.’ Yes, I think it’s more likely than not that he comes back.”

All told, don’t hold your breath. Chances are Brady is done. In which case, it’s been an amazing run.

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