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When will Tom Brady retire? Future of Buccaneers QB ‘up in the air’ after 2022 NFL playoff run

Sporting News logo Sporting News 1/23/2022 Zac Al-Khateeb

Tom Brady's run as the greatest NFL player of all time may be coming to an end.

Maybe.

According to reports by Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Brady's future in the league is uncertain following the 2022 NFL playoffs. Per CBS Sports, the Buccaneers organization is bracing for life after Brady following the conclusion of the season.

"He hasn't signaled one way or the other what he's going to do, and maybe he doesn't know himself," one source close to Brady told CBS Sports. "But it wouldn't be surprising if this was the end."

MORE: Tom Brady stats: Evaluating QB's career by age, from start with Patriots to recent run with Buccaneers

Added another source: "Nothing's been said, but there is a sense among some guys in the locker room that this is it, one way or the other. It's just little things here or there they are picking up on. Maybe it turns out to be nothing."

Brady, 44, has led his team to the playoffs for the 19th time in his career. He is 35-11 in 46 career postseason games and has a chance to win his record-eighth Super Bowl trophy. Another such victory would give Brady back-to-back Lombardi Trophies for the first time since the 2002 and '03 seasons.

The Bucs' postseason run has been historic. 

Moreover, Brady has not only continued to play at an MVP level, but has also thrown more this season than any of his previous years in the league. He has registered single-season career-highs in completions (485), attempts (718) and yards (5,316) while accounting for 43 touchdowns and 312.7 passing yards per game (both marks that rank second in a season in Brady's career).


Video: Tom Brady's top plays 2021 season (NFL)

But Brady has worked with short contracts in his two seasons in Tampa Bay and, per Rapoport, has not indicated whether he will return to the team in 2022, the final year of his current contract.

MORE: Tom Brady playoff stats: How many wins, records, Super Bowls does Buccaneers QB have?

"From what I understand he has not yet told the Bucs that he will be back. And you talk to sources close to him, as I have over the course over the past couple of days, He is expected to take some time away following the season, whatever happens, and consider retirement. Is it time for him to step away from the game?"

Rapoport mentioned the potential reasoning for Brady to step away from the game: not only spending more time with his family, but focusing on his non-football ventures, including a clothing line, potential movie deals, production companies and more.

MORE: When will Tom Brady retire? Here's what Buccaneers QB has said about playing until 50

Brady, in a July interview with Jim Gray on SiriusXM Radio, said his aim was to play at least to his age-45 season, which would occur in 2022.

"I felt for a long time, I could play until I was 45 years old," Brady said. "I think I committed to say, 'Hey, I'm going to play till I'm 45.' And this year I'll be 44, which naturally takes me to the next year. I've got a two-year contract. We'll see what happens beyond that."

Brady had previously reiterated that stance in a June interview with USA Today, saying, "I’ve always said 45 was the age that I wanted to reach and that was my goal. This year I’ll be 44, so next year I’ll be 45. I got a two-year contract.

“I’m going to be able to obviously play this year and God forbid anything happens but play next year and then see what happens after that. If I still want to keep playing, I might be able to do that. And if that’s enough, then that would be enough.”

Brady, however, also said he thought he could play until he's 50, per a September episode of the "Tommy & Gronky" show. When asked to clarify those statements, Brady walked them back:

“Well, I think Gronk asked if I thought I could," Brady said. "Whether I think I can or I will are two different things. So, I think from my body standpoint and how I’ve been able to take care of myself over the years can put me in a position to do that, and you never know what can happen as I keep moving forward.

"I know I’m having a lot of fun playing. And again, at my age, I’ve agreed to play next year, as well, but beyond that, it’ll just take it year by year."

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