Tom Brady is retiring at 45 and insists it’s ‘forever’ this time

TAMPA, Fla. — This time, Tom Brady says he’s done for good.

The seven-time Super Bowl winner with New England and Tampa Bay announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, exactly a year after he first said his playing days were over, by posting a nearly a minute-long video published on social media.

Unlike last winter, the most successful quarterback in league history and one of the greatest athletes in team sports said his decision was final.

“Morning folks. Getting straight to the point,” Brady says at the beginning of the message. “I’m retiring. Forever.”

He briefly retired after the 2021 season but returned to the Buccaneers for another year. Retiring at age 45, the holder of virtually every major NFL passing record in an unprecedented 23-year career.

When he retired a year ago, it was in the form of a lengthy Instagram post. But about six weeks later, he decided to return for another run, citing “unfinished business” after an early elimination from the playoffs.

The Buccaneers – with whom he won a Super Bowl two seasons ago – made the playoffs again this season, losing in the playoff opener. And at the time, the question was whether Brady would play again.

Only a few weeks later he gave the answer.

“I know the process was a pretty big deal last time, so when I woke up this morning I thought I’d just hit record and let you guys know first,” Brady says in the video. “I’m not going to be long-winded. You only get one super emotional retirement essay and I used up my last year.

“Thank you so much, really, every single one of you who support me. My family, my friends, teammates, my competitors. I could go on forever. There are too many. Thanks guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream. I wouldn’t change anything. Love you all.”

Brady is the NFL’s career leader in passing yards (89,214) and touchdowns (649). He is the only player to win more than five Super Bowls and was the game’s MVP five times. He also holds marks for regular-season wins (251), Super Bowl appearances (10), playoff games played and wins (48, 35), and playoff yards (13,400) and TDs (88).

“Tom’s legacy is unmatched in the history of this game. All Super Bowl titles and statistical records speak for themselves, but what I value most is the impact he’s had on so many people over the years,” said Jason Licht, general manager of the Buccaneers.

“His influence on this organization helped us reach the mountain top. We will certainly miss him as our quarterback, but I will also miss him as a leader and a friend,” Licht added. “Our entire organization owes him a debt of gratitude for what he has provided to us over the past three years. We will never forget the victories and awards and his influence will be felt for many years to come.”

Brady announced his retirement a day after attending the Los Angeles premiere of 80 for Brady — which comes out Friday. The film tells the story of four lifelong friends, played by Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and Sally Field, who went to a Super Bowl to see Brady play.

He was asked Tuesday night if he felt a connection to working with women – the four-star age range of 76 to 91 – who don’t want to retire.

“They work hard and they love it. So good for her,” Brady told The Associated Press. “You know, that’s what life is about. You have to, you know, wake up every day with a purpose. And when you find something you enjoy doing, you know it’s hard to stop. They really enjoy it. And there are many aspects that you enjoy. So you still bring it with you at that age. It’s really amazing to see them on set and how much energy they have. And I’ve certainly been inspired by them and learned a lot of lessons through this whole experience.”

Notoriously underrated when he came into the NFL — he was drafted 199th by the Patriots in 2000, behind six other quarterbacks, three kickers and a punter — Brady certainly wasn’t expected to become synonymous with greatness. He played in one game as a rookie, completing one of three passes for six yards.

The next year everything changed.

Brady took over the Patriots’ starting role, the team beat the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl that crowned the 2001 season, and he and New England coach Bill Belichick were on course to become the most successful coaching-QB duo in football Story.

More Super Bowl victories came after the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The Patriots returned to the top of football a decade later for the fourth time of Brady’s era to close out the 2014 season, the start of three more titles in a five-year span .

He signed with Tampa Bay in free agency in 2020 and added a seventh Super Bowl ring to his collection in his first season with his new team. The Bucs have won 37 games (including the offseason) with Brady at quarterback — third most in the league over the past three seasons behind Kansas City (46) and Buffalo (41).

“I think I’ve gone on record dozens of times that there’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady, and I still feel that way,” Belichick said in 2021 — just before Tampa Bay came to New with Brady England and beat the Patriots in a game called The Return. “I was very fortunate to have Tom as a quarterback to coach him and he was as good as a coach could wish for.”

Brady set league records for completions (490) and passes (733) while throwing for 4,643 yards, 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season. However, the Bucs ranked last on fast offense and were forced to rely almost entirely on Brady’s arm and struggled to get the ball into the end zone.

After 61 touchdowns in 2021, Tampa Bay slipped to 31 last season and averaged just 18.4 points per game — down from over 30 in Brady’s first two seasons with the Bucs.

Going 8-9, Brady’s only losing season in over two decades as an NFL starter, the Bucs became only the fourth team in league history to earn a postseason berth with a loss in a non-strike year. Offensive struggles continued during a one-sided loss to Dallas in the NFC wild card round.

Brady has won three NFL MVP awards, been a three-time first-team All-Pro, and been selected to the Pro Bowl 15 times.

Brady and model Gisele Bundchen finalized their divorce last fall during Bucs season.