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Sports >  NFL

Tom Brady announces he is retiring from the NFL ‘for good’

Feb. 1, 2023 Updated Wed., Feb. 1, 2023 at 9:27 a.m.

Quarterback Tom Brady raises his cap toward fans and jogs to the locker room after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were defeated by the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 16.  (Tribune News Service)
Quarterback Tom Brady raises his cap toward fans and jogs to the locker room after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were defeated by the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 16. (Tribune News Service)
By Mark Maske Washington Post

Tom Brady, the legendary quarterback who established himself over more than two decades as the NFL’s most prolific winner and arguably its greatest player, announced Wednesday that he is retiring.

This time, he said, he will not change his mind.

“I’ll get to the point right away: I’m retiring, for good,” Brady said in a 53-second video posted to social media. “I know the process was a pretty big deal last time. So when I woke up this morning, I figured I’d just press record and let you guys know first. So I won’t be long-winded. You only get one super-emotional retirement essay, and I used mine up last year.”

Brady, 45, won seven Super Bowls over his 23 NFL seasons with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is the league’s career leader in passing yards and touchdown passes, among many other categories. He was a three-time league most valuable player and a five-time MVP of the Super Bowl.

“I really thank you guys so much to every single one of you for supporting me-my family, my friends, my teammates, my competitors,” Brady said, becoming more emotional as the video progressed. “I could go on forever. There’s too many. Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream. I wouldn’t change a thing. Love you all.”

His latest retirement announcement came one year after he retired last Feb. 1, only to reverse course and return to the Buccaneers less than six weeks later. He had a trying final season. Brady’s team had a losing record for the first time in his career, although the Buccaneers reached the postseason before suffered a lopsided defeat to the Dallas Cowboys in the opening round of the NFC playoffs. Brady also experienced intense scrutiny of his personal life as he and his wife, model Gisele Bündchen, announced their divorce.

Brady was eligible for free agency this offseason. He already has lined up a lucrative broadcasting contract with Fox, reported to be worth $37.5 million per year, to take effect after his playing career.

Speculation had begun about Brady’s next team, with the San Francisco 49ers and Las Vegas Raiders being mentioned prominently as potential free-agent destinations. Some associates had believed that Brady was more likely than not to play another season, saying that family considerations-and proximity to his children, who live in Florida and New York-would be crucial in determining a new team. But they said they also knew that retirement was a distinct possibility.

Some in the Buccaneers organization had wondered aloud on the night of the team’s 31-14 playoff loss to the Cowboys on Jan. 16 whether the dispiriting nature of that defeat might nudge Brady toward retirement-just as the promising, near-miss feeling associated with the team’s postseason loss to the Los Angeles Rams a year earlier might have contributed to his decision to return.

As he left the field at Raymond James Stadium that night last month, Brady stopped by the tunnel leading to the Buccaneers’ locker room and spoke to his parents and his sister. His mother was visibly emotional following the conversation. But Brady gave no public hint later that night about his next steps, saying: “I’m going to go home and get a good night’s sleep—as good as I can tonight…. It’s been a lot of focus on this game. It’ll just be one day at a time, truly.”

He said that it felt like the end of any other season, providing no indication if he’d decided at that point to walk away from the sport. He did close his postgame news conference that night with what sounded like a farewell, although maybe only to the Buccaneers rather than to the entire NFL.

“I just want to say thank you, guys, for everything,” Brady told reporters. “I really appreciate all your efforts. I know it’s hard for you guys, too. It’s hard for us players to make it through. You guys have got a tough job. I appreciate all that you guys do to cover us.… I love this organization. It’s a great place to be. I thank everybody for welcoming me. All you regulars, I’m just very grateful for the respect. And I hope I gave the same thing back to you guys.”

Even in his final, post-retirement season, Brady set single-season NFL records for passing attempts and completions. His stated goal had been to play until age 45, which he achieved.

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