Report: Tom Brady Retiring After Historic 22-Season Career with Patriots, Buccaneers

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 29, 2022

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 16: Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks on during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 16, 2022 at  Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, who won seven Super Bowl titles across 22 years with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is reportedly set to announce his retirement from the NFL.

ESPN's Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington reported the news of Brady's decision Saturday, which comes after the Bucs' title defense ended with a loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Round.

Schefter and Darlington reported Brady's decision is "based on several factors," including family, health and expected roster turnover in Tampa Bay.

Brady's agent, Don Yee, released a statement on the report, noting Brady would make an announcement on his future "soon":

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Statement from Tom Brady’s agent Don Yee: <a href="https://t.co/vbUhSToYtT">pic.twitter.com/vbUhSToYtT</a>

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians told The MMQB's Albert Breer that the team hadn't been informed of Brady's decision yet:

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

About an hour ago, I asked Bucs coach <a href="https://twitter.com/BruceArians?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BruceArians</a> if <a href="https://twitter.com/TomBrady?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TomBrady</a> had informed the team that he's retiring. He responded via text, "No, he hasn't." Other key people here have also said privately they didn't know this was coming.<br><br>We'll see. <a href="https://t.co/YLLeapCkku">https://t.co/YLLeapCkku</a>

The 15-time Pro Bowl selection's decision to hang up his cleats for the final time would come as a surprise given his continued high-level play since joining the Bucs in 2020, though he did say his family would play a key role in his decision when he didn't take a firm stance on his future after the playoff loss.

Brady guided Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl title in his first year with the franchise and then put himself in the MVP discussion during a 2021 campaign in which he led the NFL in both passing yards (5,316) and passing touchdowns (43).

The 44-year-old University of Michigan product remained highly durable—he hadn't missed a game because of injury since 2008—and his 43 TD throws were his most since 2007 with the Pats.

So his decision to walk away seemingly flies contrary to his comments to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times in mid-January, when he said his plan was to play as long as he performed at an elite level.

"I feel like I want to play as a championship-level player," Brady said. "That's what I've said for a long time. When I'm not able to do that—I said a long time ago when I suck I'll retire—but what I really meant was when I'm not capable of leading the team to victory, then someone else has to do the job."

Nevertheless, Brady built a resume that guarantees him a spot in Canton the moment his five-year waiting period is over, and he's got a strong argument as the most accomplished player in NFL history.

He's a five-time Super Bowl MVP, three-time regular-season MVP and a two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year, combined with numerous other team and individual accolades since being selected in the sixth round of the 2000 draft.

Along with his place in the Hall of Fame, there's a good chance both the Pats and Bucs will retire his No. 12 jersey in the coming years.

Meanwhile, his departure leaves a massive void at quarterback for Tampa Bay and could end the team's recent run as a perennial championship contender.

The Bucs did select Kyle Trask in the second round of the 2021 draft, but it's impossible to know how he'll perform after a year on the sidelines. The front office could also pursue another veteran to lead a roster that's otherwise built to win now.

Those answers will come in the weeks ahead, but for now it seems there will be league-wide celebration of Brady's storied career.