Bucs Pro Bowler Makes Final Decision on Return: Report

Bruce Arians

Getty The recently-retired Ali Marpet will not return to play alongside Tom Brady for the Buccaneers.

A notable Tampa Bay Buccaneers player has reached a decision regarding his own return following Tom Brady’s announcement.

After the 44-year-old Brady made headlines on Sunday, March 13, with his announcement that he’s returning for a 23rd season, another Buccaneers Pro Bowler made his own decision regarding a possible return from retirement. According to Tom Krasniqi of 620 WDAE and 95.3 FM in Tampa Bay, offensive guard Ali Marpet is not returning shortly after retiring, as Brady just did.

“BREAKING: Ali Marpet says in a text to me that he will not follow suit like Brady: “I am not unretiring. I’m excited for the Bucs, gonna be a blast to watch haha.” Marpet will not return. Like Brady, people can change their mind but as of now, Marpet stays retired,” says Krasniqi.

The 28-year-old Marpet had been a staple of the Buccaneers’ offensive line since he was selected with a second-round draft pick during the 2015 NFL draft. Marpet started all 101 games he appeared in and was named a Pro Bowler during the 2021 campaign.

According to Pro Football Focus, Marpet’s 84.1 offensive grade and 86.3 run blocking grade ranked seventh among all offensive guards.

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Brady Announces Decision to Return

Although Marpet won’t be returning, Brady will be. The seven-time Super Bowl champion made a resounding announcement over Twitter on his own return just six weeks after announcing he was done with football.

“These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands,” said Brady. “That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG.”

The 44-year-old Brady’s return ends Tampa Bay’s search for a new franchise quarterback. Brady is on the heels of a 2021 season in which he finished runner-up in MVP voting to Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. Furthermore, Brady led the league in touchdowns (43), passing yards (5,316) and completions (485).

What Brady’s Return Means for Bucs

Brady’s return will likely lead to Tampa Bay once again becoming a magnet for free agents. It could also lead to the return of many of their free agents, including the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette and Carlton Davis.

Shortly after Brady’s announcement, Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen re-upped with Tampa Bay for three years, $39 million.

General manager Jason Licht released his own statement shortly after Brady’s return, indicating both sides had been in contact prior to his announcement.

“[Head coach Bruce Arians] and I have had plenty of conversations with Tom recently that led us to believe there was a realistic chance he would want to come back,” Licht said. “Tom is the greatest quarterback of all time who is still playing at an elite level. With this decision now made, we will continue to move forward with our offseason plans to reload this roster for another championship run.”

While Brady’s return will enable Tampa Bay to have a chance at making another Super Bowl run, they will face an uphill battle at re-signing many of their key free agents. The Buccaneers will enter the offseason a little more than $3 million over the salary cap with 22 players hitting the market.

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