Brady, who retired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Feb. 1 but remained under contract, could take a similar comeback route to Hall of Famer Brett Favre, ESPN’s Mike Greenberg pointed out. Favre, a former Green Bay Packers quarterback, wanted to join rival Minnesota and went the retirement route to get there.
Rumors have swirled that Brady wants to play for his hometown San Francisco 49ers, which passed on him in 2020 during free agency. The Bucs meanwhile started its search for a new quarterback.
“Brett Favre did this exactly,” Greenberg said on his show, “Greeny” on Tuesday, February 15. “When Brett Favre was leaving Green Bay, he really wanted to go to Minnesota. There was no earthly way the Packers were going to trade him within their division, so he went and played a year for the [New York] Jets and played well and then retired knowing that the Jets would make other arrangements at quarterback, which they did.”
The Jets traded for a higher first round spot in the 2009 NFL Draft and picked USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. Favre sat on the Jets’ reserve-retired list at the time, which meant the team held his contract rights.
“And when Favre calls them up and says, ‘actually, I think I’m going to continue playing, they have no choice but to release him, and he gets to go exactly where he wanted to go, which was Minnesota,” Greenberg said. “I’m not saying that’s definitively what Brady is doing, but I wouldn’t be surprised.”
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Brady’s Last Podcast Only Fueled Comeback Rumors
Brady clearly kept the door open on a comeback during his final “Let’s Go!” podcast on Monday, February 14.
“I’m super content and happy with how I feel in my decision,” Brady told host Jim Gray. “All you can do is take it day by day, nothing’s promised for us.”
Brady emphasized family as a big reason for his decision, and he had since shared a few family moments on social media such as a horseback riding outing.
Greenberg notes that Brady never explicitly declares that he retired permanently. Speaking on “Greeny”, ESPN’s Jeff Saturday sees a comeback in the works for Brady. Saturday noted it could be a plethora of scenarios from the Bucs to a quarterback-needy team right before or during the season.
“I do think he’s contemplating it,” Saturday told Greenberg. “He, for whatever reason, has left this door open, and I’ll be honest with you. I like it.”
Brady’s Ex-Teammates Perceive a Comeback in the Works
A couple of Brady’s former teammates anticipate a comeback sooner or later.
“I was — I don’t wanna say bummed out — when he retired, but I was like, ‘Dang,’ because I wanted to see how far he could set the bar,” Bolden said per Benjamin. “[But] I’d probably put the percentage of a comeback above 50, because you can just never rule out Tom Brady.”
Rob Gronkowki, who played with Brady both in New England and Tampa Bay for 11 seasons, believes a comeback is a ways further out. The star tight end, who retired and unretired himself, shared his forecast for Brady with USA Today Sports during pre-Super Bowl festivities.
“The guy can play at any age,” said per USA Today’s Josh Peter. “If he’s 50 years old he can still come back. I think he’s going to come back but in a couple of years. The guy’s a beast. He can play anytime.”