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Tom Brady Confirms Retirement After More Than 20 Years Playing Football in the NFL

It’s official. After sparking retirement speculation, Tom Brady has officially decided it’s time to hang up his cleats for good.

Related: Everything Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen Have Said About His NFL Retirement

“I have always believed the sport of football is an ‘all-in’ proposition — if a 100% competitive commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game. There is physical, mental and emotional challenge EVERY single day that has allowed me to maximize my highest potential. And I have tried my very best these past 22 years. There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life. This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes, I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore,” the 44-year-old athlete began a lengthy statement on Tuesday, February 1, via Instagram. “I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention.”

Tom Brady Confirms Retirement After More Than 20 Years Playing Football in the NFL
Tom Brady Justin Rex/AP/Shutterstock

“I’ve done a lot of reflecting the past week and have asked myself difficult questions. And I am so proud of what we have achieved,” Brady continued. “My teammates, coaches, fellow competitors, and fans deserve 100% of me, but right now, it’s best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes.”

He went on to thank his Tampa Bay teammates, writing, “I love you guys, and I have loved going to battle with you. … I couldn’t be happier with what we accomplished together.” While he gave shout-outs to the Bucs fans and coaching staff, Brady noticeably didn’t mention the New England Patriots organization.

Related: Tom Brady's Kids Supporting His Football Career Over the Years: Photos

“And lastly to my wife, Gisele, and my children, Jack, Benny and Vivi. You are my inspiration,” he concluded. “Our family is my greatest achievement. I always came off the field and home to the most loving and supportive wife who has done EVERYTHING for our family to allow me to focus on my career. Her selflessness allowed me to reach new heights professionally, and I am beyond words what you mean to me and our family.”

Us Weekly previously confirmed on Saturday, January 29, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback was set to retire after ESPN first reported the news.

“7 Super Bowl Rings. 5 Super Bowl MVPs. 3 League MVP Awards. 22 Incredible Seasons. Thank you for it all, @TomBrady,” Brady’s TB12’s brand account tweeted at the time.

Several hours later, the brand removed their social media tribute amid the news that Brady had yet to finalize his decision.

“I understand the advance speculation about Tom’s future,” Brady’s agent, Don Yee, told The Hollywood Reporter via a statement on Saturday. “Without getting into the accuracy or inaccuracy of what’s being reported, Tom will be the only person to express his plans with complete accuracy. He knows the realities of the football business and planning calendar as well as anybody, so that should be soon.”

Tom Brady Confirms Retirement After More Than 20 Years Playing Football in the NFL
Tom Brady Stew Milne/AP/Shutterstock

Amid the speculation surrounding the Michigan University alum’s sports future, celebrity football fans started to pay tribute to Brady’s talents.

“No matter what team you love, no matter what side of the divisions you root for, we have all been blessed to watch the Greatest Of All Time show up every game ready to play,” Kate Hudson wrote via Instagram on Saturday. “TB what a phenomenal career! I am a girl who loves football, with no physical connection to playing the sport but your dedication, follow through, focus, and generosity translates and is truly inspirational. Happy retirement buddy and you will be missed!”

Taylor Lautner, for his part, wrote via Instagram Story: “Honor watching this guy for 22 years.”

The California native kicked off his professional football career when he was drafted in 2000 by the New England Patriots. After playing with the Pats for 19 years, he announced his departure in March 2020 and later joined the Bucs.

Brady, who is known as the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time), has appeared in nine Super Bowls, winning seven titles. (He helped the Pats take home the Lombardi Trophy six times and later won the February 2021 honor for Tampa during Super Bowl LV.)

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“I understand that at this stage in my career, there is going to be interest in my future whenever a season ends, but this week, all that is on my mind is the gratitude I have for this team and the fans that have supported us all year long,” the TB12 founder shared a sweet message about his football tenure via Instagram earlier this month. “This year has been incredibly rewarding personally and professionally and I am appreciative of everyone who worked their ass off to help our team achieve so much. I always want to win, I think that’s pretty apparent by now, but that doesn’t mean I equate losing to failure, especially when you go out fighting the way we did.”

He continued at the time: “There’s so much to appreciate in a season like this when you’re surrounded by a team that believes in each other, and plays for the people standing on either side of them. I’ll spare you the Man in the Arena quote, but that feeling is something that I promise I’ll never take for granted. To everyone that was a part of it this year, thank you. I love you all!”

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