All Signs Point Toward “Retired” Tom Brady Playing NFL Football Next Season

Anyone who might have a clue about the situation, including Brady himself, is talking like the 44-year-old is not done with the NFL

Tom Brady looks on prior to the NFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Eagles
Tom Brady looks on prior to the NFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Eagles.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty

Actions, it’s often said, speak louder than words. That’s generally true, but sometimes enough words indicate that action is coming.

That certainly seems to be the case when it comes to Tom Brady and his “retirement,” as everyone and anyone who might have some sort of insight into what he is going to do, including the 44-year-old quarterback himself, seem to be hinting that the seven-time Super Bowl winner will be returning to the NFL, possibly even next season.

“We’ll see what the future holds,” Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said this week at the NFL Combine. “We’ll leave the light on. You always leave the light on for a guy like Tom Brady.”

Brady, who never actually used the word retirement in his plug-heavy statement about stepping away from football, sounded lukewarm about his decision to leave the NFL just a week after announcing he was done.

Approximately a month later while speaking with Fred Couples on SiriusXM radio this week, Brady certainly didn’t sound like someone who was positive he was done playing football when asked where he was going as if it was already a foregone conclusion his NFL return was imminent.

“I wish I had a clear vision of what the future holds,” Brady said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “I think for me, there’s a lot of great things and a lot of great opportunities that I know I said right after football season I was looking forward to spending more time with my family. And I’ve done that the last five weeks. And I know there’ll be a lot more of that, too.”

Brady may not have a problem beating time, but it seems even the GOAT can’t conquer five weeks of family time.

Joking (?) aside, those comments come on the heels of a number of other notable people indicating they think Brady will return.

“I think, by the way, I will not be surprised if Tom Brady, sometime in the next year or two, says he wants to play football again. Educated hunch,” longtime NFL scribe Peter King wrote in his weekly column.

And Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, who penned the forthcoming book Playmakers: How the NFL Really Works (And Doesn’t), indicated in a recent interview with InsideHook that he also believes Brady will be back — but not with Tampa.

“With Brady, my theory is very simple. He’s going to play this retirement game until the Buccaneers have made other arrangements and then he’s going to try to work his way off of Tampa’s roster, whether it’s a trade or a release or whatever the case may be,” Florio said. “I think he wants to finish his career with the 49ers. I really do. He wanted to go there two years ago and they said, no thank you. It’s the team he grew up rooting for. What else does he have to accomplish? He’s never played for the team he grew up rooting for and they have a Super Bowl-ready roster. That would be a perfect way for Brady to end his career. He goes in, wins a Super Bowl with the 49ers and gives a subtle middle finger to Jimmy Garoppolo, the guy who was supposed to supplant him in New England. It makes too much sense to not happen. People think I’m nuts, but I think Brady’s going to end up playing for the 49ers this year.”

Whether it’s the Bucs, the 49ers or another team that isn’t the Patriots, it certainly sounds like Brady and his fancy sunglasses will be back in the NFL and that his “retirement” will be a short one.

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