“This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes, I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore,” the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, 44, wrote in a lengthy statement posted via Instagram on Tuesday, February 1. “I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention.”
Days before the athlete’s official announcement, his company, TB12, hinted in a tweet that the California native planned to hang up his cleats. “7 Super Bowl Rings. 5 Super Bowl MVPs. 3 League MVP Awards. 22 Incredible Seasons. Thank you for it all, @TomBrady,” the health and wellness brand wrote on Saturday, January 29.
That same day, Brady’s agent, Don Yee, didn’t confirm or deny the speculation, explaining that the former New England Patriots player would make his own statement on the subject “soon.”
After the University of Michigan alum officially announced his retirement, tributes poured in from fellow athletes and NFL teams praising him for his unusually long career in football. “We’ve had some memorable battles over the years, @TomBrady,” the Denver Broncos tweeted from the team’s official account. “Congrats on an incredible career!”
The New England Patriots, Brady’s team for 19 years, shared an illustration of the quarterback riding a boat into the sunset. “It was quite the ride,” the Massachusetts-based team tweeted. “Thank you and congratulations, @TomBrady.”
Bruce Arians, the head coach for the Buccaneers, responded to news of his star player’s retirement with a statement shared via the team’s Twitter account. “Tom joined us as the greatest football player of all time, and he quickly showed everyone in our organization what that meant,” the New Jersey native, 69, said. “He set a standard and helped create a culture that took our team to the mountaintop. It has been an honor to be his head coach for the past two seasons.”
The former Arizona Cardinals coach went on to note that part of what made Brady so impressive was the way he remained a formidable player well into his 40s — unusual in any sport, but especially in football. “I wish it didn’t have to end, but few players have the opportunity to leave the game on their own terms,” Arians added. “Even fewer can do it while playing at an elite level. Tom is the exception.”
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