With Tom Brady officially retired, the San Francisco 49ers have to look elsewhere to find healthy bodies to complement the recovering Brock Purdy and Trey Lance. Maybe, or maybe not, as according to a “rival executive” who talked to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, San Francisco may inquire about Brady’s services yet.
“If I were San Francisco,” a rival executive told Breer, “I’d think about it, for sure.”
This wasn’t the first time Brady has been linked to the 49ers this offseason, as he was the hot name linked to the team before he retired for the second time in as many years. This also isn’t the first time NBC Sports specifically has suggested that Brady’s retirement might not be finite, as Mike Florio discussed that very topic on February 23. Whether it comes to pass, however, remains to be seen.
The 49ers’ Roster Could Entice Tom Brady Out of Retirement
Discussing why Brady opted to retire and why he may still be able to play, Breer’s executive noted that Tampa Bay’s string of injuries and diminished roster may have played into the decision.
“I think it was probably different for him, in that the weapons around him were not as consistent, really everything around him was not as consistent,” a rival exec told Sports Illustrated. “And in years past, with New England, he had those situations, and still went to the conference championship game. There had to be some decrease somewhere, and that’s really where it was, and he wasn’t able to make up for it like he used to. But it wasn’t the naked-eye stuff. He still threw it really well; his body was still where it needed to be; he moved well in the pocket.”
“Maybe he was speeding things up on his own, like he had to compensate for what was going on around him.”
Could Brady look at the roster John Lynch built and decide to give playing quarterback one final go? Is the chance to lead his hometown team to their first Super Bowl victory this century too enticing to pass up, especially if it adds an eighth ring to his collection? Considering the veteran QB doesn’t think he “sucks” yet, that answer might be more interesting than some fans initially expected.
The Initial Requirement of Tom Brady’s Retirement Wasn’t Met
Discussing the decision to retire on his “Let’s Go!” podcast, Brady noted that though he can still play and did pass for almost 4,700 yards in 2022, 2023 felt like the right time to leave the game behind.
“There’s always gonna be a part [of me] that wants to play and a part of me that, you know, feels like I can play,” Brady said via NBC Sports. “I think there’s just a decision to know that it’s the right time. So I think for me it’s more of just, it’s gonna end at some point, and I think now’s the time. And it’s not that I can’t do it. It’s not that I wouldn’t want to do it. It’s not that I wouldn’t be excited to play. I love playing football. I’ve loved playing football since I was a kid on the street on Portola Drive. So I think it’s just a decision that it’s time to do other things.”
When his co-host, Jim Gray, reminded Brady that he once said, “he’ll retire when he sucks,” the Hall of Fame-bound quarterback acknowledged that those past comments might have been shortsighted.
“That’s true,” Brady said. “I did say that. And I meant it at the time. That was so long ago. I missed a few things in the meantime and certainly just have loved every experience that I’ve had doing it and doesn’t always go right, and I always tell this to my kids a lot, you know, it’s not about whether you win or lose, it’s about the process of trying to get the most out of yourself. And if you feel like you’ve done it, then there’s a lot to be gained from it. And if you feel like you cheated that, then you feel like you’ve cheated yourself.”
Would Brady feel cheated if he left an opportunity like playing for Shanahan on the table? Maybe, especially as September grows closer and closer, but for now, he’s trying to focus on maximizing his abilities off the football field.
“I think I’ve always wanted to maximize my ability as a player, and now I get to maximize my ability in life as a person and as a human and as a man and as a father and as a son and as a brother and as a friend and as a teammate to different things going forward,” Brady said. “So there’s a lot of things to be excited about.”