“Earlier this week, I made a statement about playing football and the military and it was a very poor choice of words,” Brady told reporters during a regularly scheduled press conference on Thursday.
“And I just want to express that to any sentiments out there, that people may have taken it in a certain way, so I apologize.
“I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for everyone who served and, in the end, we play a game and the military is defending our country is two very different things and I shouldn’t have made the comparison.”
Brady made the comments about the military on Monday while speaking with co-host Jim Gray and NBA superstar Kevin Durant on his “Let’s Go!” podcast about the mindset required by top athletes.
Discussing the balance between his job and his life, the seven-time Super Bowl winner said: “I almost look at a football season like I’m going away on deployment for the military. And it’s like: ‘Man, here I go again.’”
At the press conference, Brady also fielded questions about his and his team’s form following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ turbulent start to the season.
The Bucs’ 20-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday moved their record to 3-3 on the season.
The rocky start, combined with Brady’s offseason retirement, reported marital issues and an 11-day leave of absence during preseason training camp “to deal with personal things,” have raised doubts about the quarterback’s long-term commitment to playing.
When asked about completing this NFL season, Brady joked: “That’s really why I’m here – I’m here to announce finally, you guys pushed me to the brink.
“No, I think a lot of it for me is just us going out there to, you know…” he continued more seriously. “I love the sport, I love the teammates, and I wanna go do a great job for this team like I always have, so no retirement in my future.”
CNN’s Ben Morse and David Close contributed to this report.