Tom Brady downplays retirement talk: ‘No retirement in my future’


Tom Brady has always played with a razor's edge, though, even by his usually high-strung standards, the quarterback has seemed especially irritable of late, taking his frustration out on teammates, opponents (Grady Jarrett and Marshon Lattimore among them) and even technology, prompting the NFL to send out a memo threatening consequences for players who throw or damage league-issued Microsoft tablets. Former quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Chris Simms (who, despite being three years younger, briefly coached Brady as a Patriots assistant) have both observed a noticeable change in his demeanor, with the latter speculating the Bucs veteran, amid declining performance and distractions in his personal life, could be contemplating a midseason retirement. Brady addressed that possibility at Thursday’s press conference, adamantly denying he has any plans to retire now, or anytime soon.

Brady’s succinct dismissal, pouring cold water on the narrative that recent events have affected his enjoyment of the game, contradicts earlier reports that this would be his final season before transitioning into a broadcast career with Fox. Perhaps Brady’s rumored split from Gisele Bundchen, his wife of 13 years and the mother of two of his three children, has changed the timeline on his retirement. While the Bucs have fallen well short of expectations this year, Brady is still on pace for 23 touchdowns and well over 4,000 passing yards, both unprecedented for a player in his mid-40s.

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Brady soft-launched his retirement last offseason, only to return five weeks later, citing a sudden change of heart. It’s believed that Brady, in conjunction with former Saints coach Sean Payton, had been plotting a move to Miami, potentially gaining an ownership stake in the team. However, that coup would prove unsuccessful with the Dolphins ultimately docked two draft picks along with owner Stephen Ross facing a two-month suspension and a hefty $1.5-million fine for tampering.

Brady’s sour mood of late could be attributed to his personal life unraveling, injuries to key contributors and the usual doubts and frustrations of an aging player faced with his football mortality. Those who’ve counted Brady out throughout his career have usually lived to regret it, repeatedly reminded of the 45-year-old’s legendary resilience and determination, willing his team to win, even and especially when the chips are down.

Arm-chair quarterbacks on social media have been quick to diagnose Brady’s struggles, positing any number of reasons why the five-time Super Bowl MVP hasn’t been himself this year. Of those many theories, Robert Griffin III’s take arguably makes the most sense, with the popular ESPN analyst suggesting Brady would benefit from the return of longtime coconspirator Rob Gronkowski, who retired this summer but has been swayed by Brady's siren song before, following him to Tampa in 2020.

That sentiment is apparently shared by Mike Evans, who lamented Gronk’s absence to reporters earlier this week.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Julio Aguilar, Getty Images