Well, that didn’t last long, did it?
Future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, who announced on Feb. 1 that he was retiring after his 22nd NFL season, has changed his mind. Just 40 days later, he said he has had a change of heart and is returning to play for the Buccaneers in 2022.
"These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands," Brady, 44, wrote Sunday evening on his Twitter account. "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."
Beneath the comments, Brady posted a picture of himself about to take a snap with the Buccaneers alongside a picture of his wife, Gisele Bundchen, and Brady’s three children. Brady has a son with actress Bridget Moynahan and a son and daughter with Bundchen.
"Tom Brady loves to play football as much as anyone I have ever been around," Bucs coach Bruce Arians said in a statement released by the team on Sunday night. "As Tom said, his place right now is on the football field. He is still playing at a championship level and was as productive as anyone in the league last season. We are ecstatic that he decided to continue playing and working toward winning another championship."
Just a week after announcing his retirement, Brady had pried the door open to a return when, pressed on the subject, he told podcast host Jim Gray, "Never say never."
Though it’s a surprise to most that Brady’s about-face came this quickly, the Bucs always left open the possibility.
"Oh, that door is never closed," Arians said last week. "Whenever Tom wants back, he’s back."
Asked if he approached the offseason with uncertainty because Brady would be gone, Arians said, "Well, you just go on, because I think if Tom comes back, we’ll have plenty of money for him."
Brady won a Super Bowl in his first season with the Buccaneers in 2020 after a 20-year run with the Patriots during which he won six championships alongside coach Bill Belichick. This past season, the Bucs lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs in Tampa.
Brady cited family concerns as a major reason for his initial decision to retire.
"Our family is my greatest achievement," he wrote on Instagram after announcing his retirement. "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."
Brady expressed a desire to spend more time at home, but he also ventured into new areas, including acting. He is set to produce and appear in a new football film, "80 for Brady," with Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and Sally Field.
On Saturday, Brady attended an English Premier League soccer game between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. United is owned by the Glazer family, which also owns the Buccaneers.
After the game, United star Cristiano Ronaldo asked Brady, "You’re finished, right?"
Brady appeared to reply, "That’s what I don’t know."
Now we do.