Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady hasn’t slammed the door on a return to football, but he clarified his status during his unofficial retirement party.
“There is nothing I love more than football, but I have young children and they watched enough of their dad’s games and it’s time for me to watch their games,” Brady told the crowd.
Brady had the unofficial retirement party in Tampa on Thursday, March 16. Autograph, an NFT company he helped start, hosted the party.
Brady retired from the Bucs and NFL on February 1, and he submitted a retirement letter to the league and NFLPA on February 10. He notably retired last year, too, but he returned to the Bucs after 41 days, which didn’t happen this time around.
Brady Return Rumors Persist
Despite his firmness on retirement round two being permanent, rumors have persisted regarding a possible return to another team. Peacock’s Rich Eisen and Scott Zolak of 98.5 The Sports Hub both floated rumblings of Brady possibly joining the Miami Dolphins last week.
Brady, who lives in Miami, humorously reacted to Eisen’s report the day after on March 7 with a tweet about adopted kittens taking up his time. Brady obtained the two kittens for his daughter, Vivian, after retirement.
“Anyone who thinks I have time to come back to the NFL has never adopted a 2 month old kitten for their daughter,” Brady tweeted.
The Dolphins notably signed former New York Jets quarterback Mike White this week as a backup to Tua Tagovailoa. Questions remain regarding Tagovailoa’s health after two concussions and a neck injury last season, but White has starting experience if his services are needed.
Longtime Brady teammate and former Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski recently weighed in on the Brady rumors.
“That was a surprise when I saw that news. It actually put me on my toes. I was very shocked when I saw that. I feel like Tom is definitely totally done playing,” Gronkowski told Boston.com. “I haven’t talked to him or anything about it. I’m not speaking for Tom. Just from everything I saw from his retirement video and everything I just feel like he is just done playing football. It was just very shocking though when I heard that news the other day.”
Tampa Bay moved on from Brady this offseason by signing Baker Mayfield in free agency on Wednesday. Mayfield will compete against third-year Bucs quarterback Kyle Trask for the starting job. Mayfield, a former No. 1 pick, played four seasons for the Cleveland Browns and bounced around the league in 2022.
Bucs Thrived With Brady
The Bucs went all-in with Brady after signing him as a free agent in 2020 at age 42. He helped the Bucs win a Super Bowl in the 2020 season followed by two NFC South division titles.
While Tampa Bay faced $58.5 million over the salary cap after Brady’s retirement due in part to his $35.1 million dead cap hit, general manager Jason Licht said it was all worth it.
“If I go back in time I would do it all again. We pushed, we borrowed about $100 million against this year’s cap and future cap to do what we did,” Licht told reporters on Thursday. “Came close the second time but you know if anybody wants to criticize what they did, they can come to any of our three homes and look at our ring. . . . We’re gonna pursue another one too.”