Tom Brady Rumors: Bucs QB 'Preparing to Retire'; Announcement Expected 'Shortly'

Erin WalshJanuary 28, 2022

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 23: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacts in the second quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 23, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If this is the end of the line for Tom Brady, what a ride it was. 

The seven-time Super Bowl champion and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback is reportedly "preparing to retire," according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. An official announcement is expected "shortly."

La Canfora wrote:

"Several sources who are within Brady's inner circle anticipate that he will most likely reveal his future plans in the coming days. Brady is a historian of the game, he understands what it takes for players and teams to reach this point in the season, and would not want to upstage the game itself in any way. Making an announcement the week leading up to the Super Bowl would not be his style, and waiting until after the Super Bowl, with the scouting combine then just weeks away, might begin to cut into the Buccaneers' ability to pivot as an organization and readjust their plans for 2022 if it was now to not include arguably the greatest football player who ever lived."
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The 44-year-old Brady, whose birthday is in August, had previously said he wants to play until he's 45. He told Peter King of NBC Sports last summer that he'd know when it would be time to hang up the cleats.

“I’ll know when the time’s right,” Brady said. "If I can’t...if I’m not a championship-level quarterback, then I’m not gonna play. If I’m a liability to the team, I mean, no way. But if I think I can win a championship, then I’ll play.”

Before Tampa Bay's NFC Divisional Round loss to the Los Angeles Rams, La Canfora reported that some of Brady's teammates had a "sense" the game could be his last. A source told La Canfora it “wouldn’t be surprising” if Brady retired after the playoffs.

In addition, Rob Ninkovich, Brady's former teammate in New England, said on ESPN’s Get Up (h/t The Spun) that it wouldn't surprise him if the quarterback "decided to walk away and do whatever he wants to do" after the season.

Brady added fuel to the fire Monday on his Let's Go! podcast (via ESPN's Jenna Laine), saying that while football is important to him, his family would play a big role in his decision on whether to return for a 23rd season: 

"I'm gonna spend some time with them and give them what they need, 'cause they've really been giving me what I need the last six months to do what I love to do. I said this a few years ago, it's what relationships are all about. It's not always what I want. It's what we want as a family. And I'm gonna spend a lot of time with them and figure out in the future what's next."

Still, it would surprise some if Brady walked away from football after putting together an MVP-caliber 2021 campaign. He completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 5,316 yards and 43 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. It was just the second time in his career he's thrown for more than 5,000 yards in a season.

In addition, Brady is under contract with the Bucs for one more year.

However, it sounds like Brady's family will have the final say, and if this truly is the end, he will go down as the greatest to ever do it.

With seven Super Bowl titles, five Super Bowl MVP awards, three NFL MVP awards, three first-team All-Pro selections, 15 Pro Bowl nods and numerous records over his time with the Buccaneers and New England Patriots—including most Super Bowl wins all-time as a player—he is a surefire future Hall of Famer.