Less Than a Week After Retiring, Tom Brady Hints at NFL Return

There's always a chance the soon-to-be 45-year-old pulls a Brett Favre

Tom Brady looks on during a game with the Philadelphia Eagles. In a new episode of the "Let's Go!" podcast, Brady hinted that he could return to play in the NFL.
Tom Brady looks on during a game with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Though much was made of Tom Brady neglecting to mention the New England Patriots in last Tuesday’s carefully crafted announcement about his retirement from the NFL, not too much was said about the 44-year-old never actually using the R-word in his official statement.

Based on comments the seven-time Super Bowl winner made last night on his Let’s Go! podcast with Jim Gray, perhaps Brady never officially calling his decision not to play next season a retirement should have gotten a little more attention.

Not even a week into his life after football and already a top target for TV networks, Brady said he was “happy” with his decision to hang up his cleats but did not shut the door on a return to the NFL.

“I’m just gonna take things as they come,” Brady said when asked about coming back. “I think that’s the best way to put it and I don’t think anything, you know, you never say never. At the same time I know that I’m very — I feel very good about my decision. I don’t know how I’ll feel six months from now. I try to make the best possible decision I can in the moment, which I did this last week. And, again, I think it’s not looking to reverse course, I’m definitely not looking to do that. But in the same time I think you have to be realistic that you never know what challenges there are gonna be in life. Again, I loved playing. I’m looking forward to doing things other than playing. That’s as honest as I can be.”

Brady, who led the NFL in passing touchdowns and passing yards in the 2021 season despite being months away from his 45th birthday, also made it clear there was nothing physically that would prevent him from keeping his career going.

“I was fortunate to do it for a long time, for 22 years,” the future Hall of Famer said. “I did it at the highest level and I had the best teammates and mentors and coaches and friends. And, again, it’s just pretty simple, it’s just there’s time for other things, I need to make time for other things in my life. And it’s exciting for me to be able to really enjoy some of those new moments as well.”

If Brady does come back to the NFL, it will most likely be on a one-day contract so he can retire as a Patriot (or maybe not). But there is always a chance he pulls a Brett Favre and decides he is going to come back while training camp is underway in August. Should that happen, the Buccaneers would have to juggle their roster to fit Brady’s contract under the team’s salary cap. Or Tampa Bay could trade Brady to avoid paying his salary as well as get something in return for the veteran quarterback. It’s unlikely, but it’s also the same trick Brady’s buddy Rob Gronkowski pulled on the Patriots.

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