NFL luminaries tip cap to Tom Brady

NFL luminaries tip cap to Tom Brady

Field-Level Media

He inspired, confounded and dominated his peers for 23 years in the NFL, but Tom Brady insists he’s leaving for real this time.

Prominent peers and former allies congratulated Brady on his second retirement on Wednesday, including Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

“Tom Brady was the ultimate winner. He entered the NFL with little to no fanfare and leaves as the most successful player in league history,” Belichick said in a statement released by the Patriots. “His relentless pursuit of excellence drove him every day. His work ethic and desire to win were both motivating and inspiring to his teammates and coaches.”

Brady posted a short video early Wednesday announcing his latest retirement. At 45, he was slated to enter free agency for the second time in March after a February 2022 retirement cancellation that brought him back to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for another season.

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“Hello, guys. I’ll cut to the chase right away,” Brady said. “I’m retiring for good. I know the process was pretty big last time. So when I woke up this morning I thought I’d hit the ‘record’ button and tell you. Will let you know first so I won’t be long-winded. You only get one super emotional retreat trial and I used mine last year. Really thank you so much to each and every one of you. for supporting me. My family, my friends, my teammates, my competitors… I can go on forever. There are too many. Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream.”

Brady will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2028. Another recent retiree, JJ Watt of the Arizona Cardinals, is up for entry in the same class.

“Greatest of all time. No question, no debate,” Watt said. “It was an honor and a privilege. PS – The group of new retirees meets on the golf course every morning at 10am. Drinks are offered to the new, so bring your wallet.”

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes picked up the mantle from Brady with his third Super Bowl appearance in four seasons. But they were 3-3 one-on-one, and Brady beat Mahomes and the Chiefs to bring the Buccaneers the franchise’s only Lombardi trophy.

Mahomes, preparing to play Super Bowl LVII in Arizona next week, responded to Brady on Twitter with three goat emoticons — do that, GOAT.

A year ago, Brady’s retirement was greeted with congratulations from all over the world. LeBron James to Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter to Alex Rodriguez and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson all joined in saying goodbye to the NFL’s winningest quarterback.

Former teammates and friends had a great time swinging Brady’s retirement in their favor, including Julian Edelman’s invitation for Brady to join him for a new competition.

“You only get one super emotional reaction to the Goat’s retirement, and I used mine,” three-time Super Bowl champion Edelman wrote of the Brady-led Patriots. “So I’ll just say this. Learning from you as a player, teammate, leader, son, brother and father has been the experience of a lifetime. Love you mate. PS. Pickleball partners?”

There was less emotion and fanfare following the announcement of Brady’s second retirement the day before Groundhog Day 2023, and Brady is not scheduled for a retirement press conference.

Around this time in 2022, Shaquille O’Neal offered what would later seem more prophetic than comedic with this tweet: “no man gets his butt up and does another year.”

Jeter, who rented out his spacious Tampa mansion to Brady and his family when they arrived in Florida, shared a note with Brady on Twitter.

“Congratulations @TomBrady on an amazing career. It was fun to watch!”

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