Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth both hinted they can see Brady retiring

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Tom Brady isn’t doing anything to curtail speculation about his retirement. In fact, his evasive answers are only adding to the intrigue.

Brady sidestepped the question immediately following Tampa Bay’s crushing 30-27 loss to the Rams, saying he’s going to take the process “day-by-day.” That doesn’t sound like somebody who’s unequivocally planning to play until 45, or beyond.

Unsurprisingly, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth also touched upon Brady’s football future during Rams-Buccaneers. Brady wasn’t very expansive with them, either, though his ambiguity filled in some of the blanks.

He couldn’t tell them what his perfect ending would be. The graphics team displayed his response on the screen midway through the third quarter.

“Winning the Super Bowl, but I don’t know that’s this year,” Brady said. “I’d love to end on a Super Bowl, but I think I’ll know when I know. … But there’s a lot that’s inconclusive.”

Brady was right in his prognostication: the Bucs weren’t in position to win a Super Bowl this season. They were too hurt at the end, missing star tackle Tristan Wirfs and multiple receivers, including Chris Godwin. On Sunday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington reported Brady is “noncommittal” about whether he wants to return for 2022.

Collinsworth offered a similar sentiment when talking about Brady’s decision during the game. The broadcaster may or may not have been relaying what Brady told them on background during their production meeting.

“I think part of it is going to be what kind of team can we put together, and let’s look at it. Same sort of thing Aaron Rodgers is saying,” Collinsworth said.

Rodgers said Saturday he doesn’t want to be part of a rebuilding process with the Packers. While the Buccaneers are in better salary cap position than Green Bay — Tampa Bay will have approximately $19.4 million in salary cap space to work with this offseason — they’re still likely going to lose key players this offseason. Godwin, Jason Pierre-Paul, Ryan Jensen, Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette and Ndamukong Suh can all become free agents.

Last week, longtime Brady teammate Rob Ninkovich said it wouldn’t surprise him if Brady retired, because he has nothing left to prove. Christian Fauria, who played with Brady from 2002-04, echoed those comments Wednesday on Merloni and Fauria.

Al Michaels brought up the Gisele factor when he weighed in Sunday. Gisele has famously been prodding Brady to retire for years.

“My gut is, Gisele is going to have something to say about this,” Michaels said. “His kids have gotten to the point where they know who dad is, they’ve been able to see him. He’s got a million things he can do in life and the after life. Do you walk away kind of at the top?”

Everybody’s gut seems to be telling them the same thing: Brady is seriously thinking about retirement. It’s almost like they’re all getting it from somewhere.