Tom Brady noted on his most recent podcast appearance that he was “close to the end” of his NFL career as he continued to hint at his retirement.
Brady, now 45, had a tumultuous offseason and resigned in February, only to later reverse that decision. In the middle of August training camp, Brady took an 11-day leave of absence to “attend to personal matters,” according to his head coach Todd Bowles.
Last week, Brady said, “As you get older, life changes quite a bit. There are different responsibilities that take shape in your life. There are different perspectives you gain.”
The seven-time Super Bowl champion opened up about his regularly scheduled ‘Let’s Go!’ Podcast co-host Jim Gray on Tuesday said he’s “feeling more than things have been in the past for some reason” as he heads into his 23rd NFL season.
“I feel my emotions really intensely,” the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback told Gray. “And I feel like I always have, but I think as you get closer to the end – and I don’t know exactly where I stand with that, but there’s no decision to be made, it’s not like me Haven’t done it for 10 more years, I definitely haven’t.
“I will never take any of this for granted. The only time it really slapped me in the face to say, ‘Don’t take this for granted’ was when I injured my knee. And after that, I came back and said, “Winning is great. I love to win and I hated to lose and I still do, but even if you lose and come off the field healthy, you can win something.” The part is when you get injured and you can’t be there with your team, it gets really mentally challenging and emotionally challenging.
Brady and the Bucs opened the new season on Sunday with a comfortable 19-3 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Although Brady said there’s a “simplicity in life when you’re in football season because there’s a rhythm,” he explained, waking up with bruises and cuts on his arm Monday morning the day after a win. “Holy shit, there were a few hits,” he said.
“And you’re like, ‘OK, how much longer do I want to make this commitment?’ And I’ve obviously committed to this year and everything is constantly being evaluated, all these different aspects that come into play.”
Brady outlined that as a 45-year-old quarterback compared to 20 years younger than he is, he has “no margins for error” in terms of his physical preparation and recovery.
When asked by Gray why he would retire if he still works at a high level, Brady noted the impact of age on his priorities.
“When I was 25, there was a simplicity to 25-year life,” Brady said.
“And I think when you’re 45 and you have a lot of other commitments and commitments that are very important to you — which are kids growing up and things that I haven’t experienced in 23 years, and I haven’t had in 23 years Thanksgiving anymore, I haven’t celebrated birthdays with people I care about who were born between August and late January, and I can’t be at funerals and I can’t be at weddings.
“I think there comes a point in your life where you’re like, ‘You know what? I’m fed up and it’s enough and time to move on, move on to other walks of life.’”
Gisele Bundchen, Brady’s wife, told Elle that she had “concerns” her husband – already the oldest NFL quarterback of all time – would be coming out of his February retirement.
“It’s a very violent sport and I have my kids and I wish it had more of a presence,” Bundchen said. “I definitely kept having those conversations with him. But ultimately I think everyone has to make a decision that works [them]. He must also follow his joy.”
She added: “I’ve done my part, that is [to] be there for [Tom]. I moved to Boston and focused on creating a cocoon and loving environment for my children to grow up in and support him and his dreams. Seeing my kids thrive and grow into the beautiful little people they are, seeing him succeed and be fulfilled in his career – that makes me happy. At this point in my life, I feel like I’ve done a good job at it.”
The Buccaneers meet the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.