Tom Brady decided to retire during the 2022 NFL offseason after 22 seasons in the NFL. His career-ending announcement was short-lived.
Brady’s retirement lasted all of 40 days before he announced he was returning to the Buccaneers to play his age-45 season. That brief hiatus from the game hasn’t impacted his overall performance, but it has left a lasting impact on how he views each game.
On his “‘Let’s Go!’ Podcast,” Brady spoke about how he felt after Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season. He explained that his emotions are running high, and the reason for that is simple.
“I’m feeling more than things in the past for some reason,” Brady said, as transcribed by ESPN. “You know, I’m just really feeling intensely my emotions. And I feel like I always have that, but I think when you get close to the end – and I don’t know exactly where I’m at with that and there’s no decision to be made, it’s not like I have 10 years left. I definitely don’t have that. So all these, I just am never gonna take for granted, you know?
… So, yeah, it’s a love that Kobe had for basketball, that Michael Jordan had for it, that Tiger Woods had for golf, that so many athletes have for the sport. And the question is how long are you willing to commit with discipline, to doing the right things, to allow those things to take place over a period of time? And that’s what guys' careers are judged on.
Brady knows that sacrifice well. He is still willing to put in that type of high-end effort to be great at 45, but he knows he has missed a lot of key events over his decades-long career.
That’s part of why Brady considered retiring in the first place. He wanted to spend more time with his family, and he appears ready to accept that he has done all he can at the NFL level.
“I haven’t had a Christmas in 23 years and I haven’t had a Thanksgiving in 23 years,” Brady said. “I haven’t celebrated birthdays with people that I care about that are, you know, born from August to late January. And you know, I’m not able to be at funerals and I’m not able to be at weddings.
And I think there comes a point in your life where you say, you know what? I had my fill and it’s enough and time to go on, to move into other parts of life, which, you know, I push myself to the max and I, I got everything I could outta my ability and I hope that everybody gets everything they can out of their doing.
Not only that, but Brady is also growing a bit tired of the physical toll the game is taking on him.
“So what am I dealing with now? I woke up today going, ‘Holy s—!'” Brady said of how he is feeling after the Buccaneers’ Week 1 win over the Cowboys. “There was a few hits and you look at your arm and you got bruises, you got cuts and you got, the way it is and you’re like, ‘How much longer do I wanna make this commitment?’ And I honestly made the commitment for this year and everything’s gonna be, you know, like always — continue to evaluate all these different aspects of play.”
Certainly, it sounds like Brady knows his time in the NFL is coming to an end. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has already reported that many expect this will be Brady’s last season and that he will retire (for real) during the 2023 offseason.
#Bucs QB Tom Brady is beginning what is expected to be his final season, sources say. A look inside his 11-day hiatus that included a family trip to the Bahamas and what’s next.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 11, 2022
My story: https://t.co/jEUGtTKxJh
It also seems like Brady will be ready for it this time. He clearly wasn’t 100 percent on board with calling it quits last year, and he noted that he still loves being a part of the team.
“I think, for me, the ability to play and love what I’m doing in year 23 with a new group of teammates and a really committed team – it’s really fun for me,” Brady said. “And I still enjoy [it], I feel it out there, I feel the joy, I feel the happiness, I feel the comradery.”
Perhaps having more of an expected expiration date will make it easier for Brady to walk away. Either way, it doesn’t seem like the 45-year-old will play much longer, and that is why he is cherishing every moment of what could be his last season.