Tom Brady announced he would be stepping away from football six weeks ago, but those six weeks were filled with hints indicating the 44-year-old quarterback could return.
Those reports and consistent speculation made Brady’s return to the NFL, as announced Sunday, a lot easier to believe. Brady will play the 2022 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after acknowledging that he was not ready to step away from the game.
Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht released a statement Sunday night, and it seemed to indicate much of what we already thought — Brady’s return was days (if not weeks) in the making.
“We are thrilled that Tom decided to come back this season,” Licht wrote in a statement. “We said we would leave all options open for him should he reconsider his retirement and today’s announcement is something we have been preparing for in recent days. Bruce (Arians) and I have had plenty of conversations with Tom recently that led us to believe there was a realistic chance he would want to come back.”
“Plenty of conversations recently” is worthy of note given Brady initially retired Feb. 1. Licht did previously share how the door would be kept open for Brady should he return to do so.
“Tom is the greatest quarterback of all time who is still playing at an elite level,” Licht wrote. “With this decision now made, we will continue to move forward with our offseason plans to reload this roster for another championship run.”
Arians added to the statement, as well.
“Tom Brady loves to play football as much as anyone I have ever been around,” Arians wrote. “As Tom said, his place right now is on the football field. He is still playing at a championship level and was as productive as anyone in the league last season. We are ecstatic that he. decided to continue playing and working toward winning another championship.”
The Buccaneers now are the betting favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LVII. Tampa Bay is anywhere from 7-to-1 to 10-to-1 to win its second championship in three seasons.