“There are a lot of other people — some players who don’t necessarily have to be all in for them [to be in the sport],” the California native, 44, noted during the Tuesday, February 8, episode of his “Let’s Go!” podcast. “I guess I’ve seen that quite a bit over the years, but … I’ve always felt for me, that’s how I had to do it. And my teammates know that I give them everything I can. My coaches know that. It’s certainly not that I can’t do that, and it’s certainly not that I can’t play or continue to play. But I think there’s an important choice for me to make, and I think the choice is, everything certainly comes at a cost, and the cost is what am I missing out on other aspects of my life?”
The former New England Patriots quarterback said that it “felt like it was just the right time” to step away from the sport after more than 20 years in the league. However, when it comes to possibly returning to the game, Brady teased that he would “never say never.”
The seven-time Super Bowl winner continued: “I’m just gonna take things as they come. I think that’s the best way to put it, and I don’t think [with] anything you never say never. At the same time, I know that I feel very good about my decision. I don’t know how I’ll feel six months from now, but I try to make the best possible decision I can in the moment, which I did this last week.”
Brady reassured heartbroken NFL fans that the game still “goes on” without him on the field, but explained that he wanted to “really enjoy some of those new moments” retirement would allow him to have.
“I think for anyone who loves the sport like I have over the years, it’ll always be in my heart, as it should be, because I’ve committed a lot of time and energy and hours to it,” he continued. “But at the same time, there’s a time and place for everything. I’ve had an amazing time and place doing it and I am really excited for what’s ahead, and I don’t know what that means or where it takes me, but I know that it’ll be fun and exciting, and I’m gonna make the most of whatever opportunities present themselves as I go forward.”
While he isn’t “looking to reverse course” and turn around from retirement entirely, the athlete told listeners there are other avenues he could take to stay close to the football world. “I loved playing,” he said. “I’m looking forward to doing things other than playing.”
Brady spent 20 seasons playing for the Patriots before leaving the northeast for Florida, joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020. In February 2021, he led the team to victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. Last week, he announced he was officially hanging up his cleats.
“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,” he wrote in a lengthy Instagram statement. “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 Super Bowl MVP explained that he wanted to turn his focus toward his wife, Gisele Bündchen, and their children: Benjamin, 12, and Vivian, 9. Brady is also the father of son Jack, 14, with ex Bridget Moynahan.
Following the news of his retirement, fans and fellow football players were quick to celebrate Brady’s many successes over the years. Bündchen, 41, supported her husband’s “legacy” in a loving social media tribute.
“What a ride @tombrady! So many memories!” she wrote earlier this month. “When I met you over 15 years ago, I didn’t know the first thing about football. But cheering for you and seeing you do what you love most made me learn about this wonderful game to the point that I seriously believed I knew more than the referees!”
The 50-year-old Sex and the City alum, for her part, noted in an Instagram comment that she was “so proud” of Brady, writing, “Yesterday and today and I know you will do great things tomorrow. Looking forward to the next steps.”
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