Tom Brady’s retirement lasted all of one month. Brady announced late Sunday that he’s returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, saying, “my place is still on the field and not in the stands.” Brady rejoins a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that has gone deep into the playoffs the last two years.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady to return for 23rd NFL season
Brady announced his decision on Twitter Sunday in a post that included two photographs: One with him under huddle with his offense and the other of his wife Gisele Bündchen and his three children.
“These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands,” Brady wrote. “That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG.”
The stunning reversal comes just 40 days after he announced he would step away from the game. However, Brady never formally filed for retirement with the NFL, and he was set to count $20.3 million against the Bucs’ cap. Tampa Bay still needs to shed an estimated $3.2 million from their books before the league year begins at 4 PM Wednesday.
Brady is still at the top of his game
Brady’s decision to return was an acknowledgment that he still has a desire to play. His ability to play is not in question. In 2021, he led the NFL in completions (485), attempts (719), passing touchdowns (43), passing yards (5,316), and passing yards per game (312.7).
Still, he decided to retire after the Buccaneers had been eliminated in the NFC’s Divisional Round and explained why in early February. He wrote at the time:
“I have always believed the sport of football is an ‘all-in’ proposition—if a 100% 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.”
Buccaneers loading up for another Super Bowl run
Brady’s decision to return immediately makes the Buccaneers one of the favorites to win the Lombardi Trophy, but they do have some roster work to do. Among their free agents: tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive linemen Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh, running back Leonard Fournette, and center Ryan Jensen.
Early Sunday, the Buccaneers announced that they had re-signed guard Aaron Stinnie, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent Wednesday.
Brady’s decision also ends speculation that he might try to force his way out of Tampa Bay and onto his third team in four seasons. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month that it would take five first-round picks for him to agree to trade Brady.
Arians added at the time: “That door is never closed. Whenever Tom wants to come back, he’s back. … If Tom wants to come back, we’ll have plenty of money for him.”