Tom Brady on NFL Retirement Timeline: 'I’ve Realized I Don’t Have 5 Years Left'

Adam WellsJuly 14, 2022

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JUNE 09: Tom Brady #12 of Tampa Bay Buccaneers answers questions at a press conference following the 2022 Buccaneers minicamp at AdventHealth Training Center on June 09, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Despite previously teasing that he could play in the NFL at the age of 50, Tom Brady seems to be thinking about life after football before then.

In an interview with Variety's Ramin Setoodeh, the seven-time Super Bowl champion said he doesn't have an exact retirement date in mind but noted "I've realized I don’t have five years left."

Brady did flirt with walking away this offseason, though it's hard to call what he actually did a retirement.

Forty days after a casual announcement on Instagram that he was done, Brady announced March 13 he "realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands."

The only major event that happened in the NFL from the time of Brady's initial decision to his comeback was the Super Bowl.

Brady told Setoodeh his initial retirement announcement was made "in the moment" and his decision to walk it back so quickly was because the Bucs would have had to make other plans if he dragged it out longer.

"If I said I’m not playing, they’d make plans. So I felt there was a lot of pressure to make a decision quickly," he said. "And then ultimately, I just decided, 'Yes, let’s do it.' And once I said that, it was like—OK, here we go."

There does seem to be some belief from Brady, who turns 45 on Aug. 3, that the end of his NFL career is happening.

In an April interview with Mike DeStefano of Complex, Brady said he thinks he could play at the age of 50 but doesn't think he will "because I know the commitment that it takes."

Another indication that Brady is planning for what comes next is in May. He signed a 10-year contract worth a reported $375 million with Fox Sports to be its lead analyst for NFL games when his playing career ends.

The three-time NFL MVP will be the first quarterback in league history to start a game as a 45-year-old when he suits up for the Bucs in 2022, eclipsing Steve DeBerg's record. George Blanda holds the record as the oldest player to ever appear in a game as a 48-year-old for the Oakland Raiders in 1975.