By Nicole Yang Boston Globe
It’s official: Tom Brady has announced his retirement.
Brady shared the news via a lengthy statement posted to his social media accounts Tuesday morning, three days after it was reported that he was planning to retire.
“I have always believed the sport of football is an ‘all-in’ proposition — if a 100 percent competitive commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game,” Brady wrote.
“There is a 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. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention.”
In his announcement, Brady thanked his Buccaneers teammates, coach Bruce Arians and his staff, general manager Jason Licht, owner Joel Glazer and his family, Bucs staffers, Bucs fans, and the city of Tampa. He also shouted out his longtime trainer and business partner Alex Guerrero, his agents Don Yee and Steve Dubin, and his family.
He did not mention the Patriots, the team for which he played his first 20 seasons.
Brady, who will turn 45 in August, had been coy about the retirement reports, even saying on an episode of his podcast Monday night that he was “still going through the process.”
But he confirmed Tuesday morning that he’s walking away from the NFL after an unprecedented level of success. Brady won a record seven Super Bowl titles, including six with the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick, and earned three league MVP awards.
He hangs up his cleats as the all-time leader in passing yards (84,520) and touchdown passes (624). He also ranks No. 1 all-time in career wins (243).
The fond memories are aplenty for Brady, who led a record 67 game-winning drives — 14 of which came in the postseason. Who can forget the Patriots overcoming a 28-3 third-quarter deficit against Atlanta in Super Bowl LI? Or the comeback against Jacksonville in the 2017 AFC Championship game? Or the 16-0 regular season in 2007?
Brady had long said that he wanted to play until he was 45, that he wanted to play until he could no longer help his team win. But he finished atop the quarterback leaderboards this past season, continuing to show he’s capable.
In fact, Brady threw for more touchdowns in his 40s than he did in his 20s.
Several teammates and competitors chimed in to congratulate Brady, from rival Peyton Manning to former Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft issued a statement celebrating Brady’s greatness.
“A generation of football fans have grown up knowing only an NFL in which Tom Brady dominated,” Kraft said. “He retires with nearly every NFL career passing record, yet the only one that ever mattered to him was the team’s win-loss record.
“In his 20 years as a starter his teams qualified for the playoffs 19 times. He led his teams to 10 Super Bowls, winning an NFL-record seven championships. In a team sport like football, it is rare to see an individual have such a dominant impact on a team’s success.
“You didn’t have to be a Patriots fan to respect and appreciate his competitiveness, determination and will to win that fueled his success. As a fan of football, it was a privilege to watch. As a Patriots fan, it was a dream come true.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also wished Brady well, even though their relationship had turned frosty following Brady’s four-game suspension as a result of the controversy concerning underinflated footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship game. In a statement, Goodell called Brady “one of the greatest to ever play in the NFL.”
“Tom made everyone around him better and always seemed to rise to the occasion in the biggest moments,” Goodell said. “His record five Super Bowl MVP awards and seven Super Bowl championships set a standard that players will chase for years.
“He inspired fans in New England, Tampa and around the world with one of the greatest careers in NFL history. It has been a privilege to watch him compete and have him in the NFL.”
It’s unknown what’s next for Brady, but he certainly has plenty of options. He recently launched an apparel line, Brady Brand. His performance and wellness company TB12 Sports has expanded. He hosts a podcast with Jim Gray and Larry Fitzgerald on SiriusXM. He owns a production company, Religion of Sports, with Gotham Chopra and Michael Strahan.
“The future is exciting,” he wrote. “Exactly what my days will look like will be a work-in-progress.”
In the meantime, Brady will surely be spending time with his wife Gisele Bündchen and three children, Jack, 14, Benjamin, 12, and Vivian, 9.
“Our family is my greatest achievement,” he wrote. “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.”
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