Tom Brady confirms retirement from NFL after glittering 22-year career
NFL legend Tom Brady has announced his retirement after 22 years in the sport, thanking fans, coaches and team-mates for their support across his extraordinary career.
The iconic 44-year-old, the most decorated player in the history of the league, suffered defeat in the NFL playoffs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams last week.
There were widespread reports that Brady had retired on Saturday but his agent and father hit back at the rumours at the time, insisting the veteran quarterback was still yet to make a decision on his future.
But an emotional Brady – who spent his first 20 seasons with the New England Patriots – put an end to the uncertainty and confirmed he had called it a day in a lengthy Instagram post on Tuesday afternoon.
‘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,’ he began.
‘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 any more.
‘I have loved my NFL career and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention. To all the Bucs fans, thank you. I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived here, but your support and embrace have enriched my life and that of my family. I have been honored to play for such a passionate and fun fan base. What a Krewe!!!
‘To the city of Tampa and the entire Tamp-St. Petersburg region, thank you. It has been wonderful to be a resident of such a fun place to live. I want to be invited to our next boat parade! To the Glazer family, thank you for taking a chance on me and supporting me. I know I was demanding at times, but you provided everything we needed to win, and your ownership was everything a player could ask for.
‘To Jason Licht, thank you for your daily support and friendship – I will never forget it. I had been through free agency and I had some trepidation about how we could achieve success. Your leadership gave me confidence, and I will always be grateful.
To my head coach Bruce Arians, thanks for putting up with me! Your firm leadership and guidance were ideal. There is no way we could have had success without your experience, intuition, and wisdom. I am very grateful. To all the Bucs coaches, my sincere thanks for all the hard work, dedication, and discipline that goes into creating a winning team. I have learned so much from all of you and will value the relationships we have.’
Brady added: ‘To every single Bucs staffer and employee, thank you.
‘Each of you is critically important, and I was greeted with a smile every day. That means so much to me. Your work is made up of long hours and hard tasks, but please know I see each and every one of you. Thank you so much.
‘To Alex Guerrero, thank you. I could have never made every Sunday without you; it’s that simple. Your dedication to your craft and our friendship and brotherhood are immeasurable. We have an unbreakable bond, and I love you.
‘To Don Yee and Steve Dubin, thank you. You’ve been with me every step of the way since I left the University of Michigan and before I entered the league. What a journey it’s been and I couldn’t do it without you.‘
Brady paid tribute to his family and close friends, saying he would never be able to ‘repay’ the support and love they had shown him across his career.
‘To my parents and entire family (and extended family of countless friends), I love you and thank you for your never-ending support and love. I could never have imagined the time and energy you have given me for the past 30 years in football. I can never repay you. And just know I love you so much,’ he went on.
‘And lastly to my wife, Gisele, and my children, Jack, Benny and Vivi. You are my inspiration. Our family is my greatest achievement. I always came off the field and home to the most loving and supportive wife who has done everything for our family to allow me to focus on my career. Her selflessness allowed me to reach new heights professionally, and I am beyond words what you mean to me and our family. Te amo amor da minga vida.
‘My playing career has been such a thrilling ride, and far beyond my imagination, and full of ups and downs. When you’re in it every day you really don’t think about any kind of ending. As I sit here now, however, I think of all the great players and coaches I was privileged to play with and against – the competition was fierce and deep, JUST HOW WE LIKE IT. But the friendships and relationships are just as fierce and deep. I will remember and cherish these memories and re-visit them often. I feel like the luckiest person in the world.’
Brady said he was looking forward to putting more time into the many companies he had cofounded in recent years, including Autograph, Brady Brand and TB12 Sports.
‘The future is exciting. I’m fortunate to have cofounded incredible companies like @autograph.io @bradybrand @tb12sports that I am excited to continue to help build and grow, but exactly what my days will look like will be a work-in-progress,’ he continued.
‘As I said earlier, I am going to take it day by day. I know for sure I want to spend a lot of time giving to others and trying to enrich other people’s lives, just as so many have done for me. With much love, appreciation and gratitude. Tom.’
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