The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback described family as a major reason for retiring on Feb. 1. His wife, Gisele Bunchden, had been strongly encouraging him to retire for years. Brady’s time to change course for 2022 began running out as NFL free agency approached in March.
“At that point, I decided to talk with my family and I said, ‘I think I wanna do this one more time if you guys will support that.’ And my wife was so supportive of it and she said, ‘Look, I want you to be happy. I want you to enjoy it and go out there and win.’ Ultimately, that’s why I came back, to win,” Brady told Complex’s Mike DeStefano. “There’s only one reason to play for me at this point in my career. And that’s to win.”
Tampa Bay’s season-ending loss to the Los Angeles Rams didn’t sit well with Brady, who hoped to end his career with another Super Bowl. He told the NBC Sports broadcast team that before the January 23 Divisional Round game.
“At the end of the day, I just love the competition on the field,” Brady told ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren. “And last year was a very bitter ending to a season and we’ve got to make a lot of corrections to try to improve and put ourselves in a better position to succeed moving forward.”
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Decision Time for Brady
Brady just had to sort out what he wanted to do after the 2021 season, he told Complex. It echoes the report that Brady “plans to take time after the season ends — a month or longer — to assess how he feels physically and mentally while also gauging his family’s desires,” which ESPN’s Jeff Darlington and Adam Schefter reported on January 23.
“I really wanted to make sure this offseason, and I had told the team, that I really need to spend time with my family if I’m gonna come back and play and make this commitment to this team,” Brady told Complex.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay searched for a new starting quarterback, which included a potential trade for DeShaun Watson. Brady said he approached Licht and Arians “right before free agency” in March about where he was at with retirement or playing again.
“Would I have preferred to wait in the end to make sure I was really, really sure? Yeah. But that wasn’t the way the NFL calendar works,” Brady told Complex. “And they’re like, as much as we’d love for you to give you time, we don’t have time.”
Brady Pushing the Limits
Brady also recognizes that he’s pushing his limits with his wife in coming back. He acknowledged his career won’t go much longer.
“I wanna be there for my wife. She has goals and ambitions,” Brady told Complex. “I’ve really pushed the limits. Personally, I’ve pushed the limits with a lot of people that have been supportive of me over the years.”
With that said, Brady didn’t say if he will push for another season in 2023.
“So I’m gonna enjoy this year,” Brady told Complex. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen beyond this year. We’re not really promised anything.”