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Legendary NFL quarterback Tom Brady is set to retire, reports say


By Steve Almasy and Homero De la Fuente, CNN

Tom Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl winner who is arguably the greatest NFL quarterback of all time, has decided to retire, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington and The Boston Globe, citing unnamed sources.

Brady just wrapped up his 22nd season in the NFL and second with the Bucs.

Last Sunday, when Tampa Bay, the defending Super Bowl champion, lost to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Round, Brady said he would take the decision on his professional football future “day-by-day.”

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The NFL tweeted its gratitude Saturday, referring to Brady as GOAT — Greatest Of All Time — with the hashtag #ThankYouTom and an illustration of the quarterback wearing his Super Bowl rings. Another NFL tweet read, “Nobody did it better.”

Brady himself has not released a statement, and according to multiple reports, people close to him insist a decision has not been conveyed to them.

Brady’s father Tom Brady, Sr., told NFL Network’s Mike Giardi reports of Brady’s retirement are “total conjecture.”

“Tommy has not made a final decision one way or the other, and anybody else that says that he has is absolutely wrong,” Giardi quoted Brady Sr. as saying.

ESPN first reported Brady was retiring, citing unnamed sources. The Boston Globe reported an NFL source confirmed the news.

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians also was not ready to bid farewell to the seven-time Super Bowl champion.

ESPN’s Jenna Laine reported when she asked if Brady has informed the team he is retiring, Arians told her, “He hasn’t. Not even close to making up his mind yet. He told us.”

CNN has reached out to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady’s representatives and the NFL, but has not received a response to questions about the situation.

“I understand the advance speculation about Tom’s future,” his agent, Don Yee, said in a statement Saturday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

“Without getting into the accuracy or inaccuracy of what’s being reported, Tom will be the only person to express his plans with complete accuracy. He knows the realities of the football business and planning calendar as well as anybody, so that should be soon.”

Along with the league offering its best wishes, athletes from Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to Brooklyn Nets star James Harden tweeted goat emojis.

“Thanks for the memories, babe,” former Patriots teammate Julian Edelman tweeted.

“Hell of a run!,” wrote Bucs cornerback and teammate Richard Sherman. “Honor to share the field with you.”

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said it was an emotional day.

“Tom Brady is just an icon in the sport, but here in New England — 20 seasons that he gave us and some of the most memorable Super Bowls that we will always remember — it’s quite emotional today … for a lot of folks,” she told CNN Saturday.

Brady’s record-setting career

Brady is considered by many NFL observers to be the greatest quarterback of all time, having led the New England Patriots to six Super Bowl titles and the Bucs to one. No quarterback has thrown for more touchdowns, more yards or won more playoff games than Brady. He has also played in and won more regular-season games in his career than any other quarterback.

Brady is a 44-year-old father of three who has been married to supermodel Gisele Bündchen since 2009. They have two children, a 12-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter. Brady has a 14-year-old son from a prior relationship with actress Bridget Moynahan.

Brady told the SiriusXM “Let’s Go!” Podcast Monday Bündchen and his children would be at the heart of any choice he made.

“The biggest difference now that I’m older is I have kids now too, and I care about them a lot as well,” Brady told Jim Gray.

“They’ve been my biggest supporters. My wife is my biggest supporter, it pains her to see me get hit out there.

“She deserves what she needs from me as a husband and my kids deserve what they need from me as a dad.”

Taken by the Patriots with the 199th pick of the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady wasn’t meant to be the starting quarterback; the Patriots already had three-time Pro Bowl selection Drew Bledsoe. The Boston Herald reported Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said they took Brady because he was the highest-rated player still available in the sixth round.

“He’s a good, tough quarterback who played at a high level of competition,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “We’ll put him out there with everyone else and let him compete and see what happens.”

After Brady had a good training camp and preseason, the Patriots made the rare move of keeping him as a fourth-string quarterback.

He moved up the depth chart and in the second game of Brady’s second season Bledsoe suffered a severe injury when he was slammed to the ground in a game.

When Brady took over, the Patriots were coming off a losing season and had struggled in two losses to open the 2001 season.

But the young quarterback led them to 11 wins in their last 14 regular-season games and on to Super Bowl XXXVI. There the Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams on a last-second field goal after Brady completed five passes on the game-winning drive. It was the first of five times he would be selected as Most Valuable Player in the game.

The Patriots added Vince Lombardi trophies in 2004, 2005, 2015, 2017 and 2019.

His best season might have been in 2007 when the Patriots went undefeated in the regular season as Brady threw for a then-record 50 touchdowns and completed a league-high 68.9% of his passes. But the New York Giants upset the Patriots in one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever.

Brady’s last season was filled with gaudy numbers, too: 5,316 yards passing and 43 touchdowns. While Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the overwhelming favorite to win the MVP award, Brady is the likely runner-up. Whoever wins will be MVP for the fourth time in his career.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Kevin Dotson, Ray Sanchez and Jack Bantock contributed to this report.

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