Questions swirl after multiple reports of Tom Brady retiring

By Fernando Alfonso III and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 0142 GMT (0942 HKT) January 30, 2022
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6:34 p.m. ET, January 29, 2022

Tom Brady’s father and his coach say the quarterback's decision isn’t finalized, per reports

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Tom Brady looks to pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 23, in Tampa, Florida.
Tom Brady looks to pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 23, in Tampa, Florida. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

As reports of Tom Brady’s retirement spread on Saturday, some close to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback have told media outlets that his future is still undecided.

Brady’s father Tom Brady Sr. told NFL Network’s Mike Giardi that the reports of Brady’s retirement are “total conjecture.”

“Tommy has not made a final decision one way or the other and anybody else that says that he has is absolutely wrong,” Giardi quoted Brady Sr. as saying.

ESPN first reported that Brady was retiring, citing unnamed sources. The Boston Globe reported that an NFL source confirmed the news.

Brady hasn’t told the Bucs about his retirement, according to multiple reports, and Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians also wasn’t ready to bid farewell to the seven-time Super Bowl champion.

ESPN’s Jenna Laine reported that when she asked if Brady has informed the team he’s retiring, Arians told her, “He hasn’t. Not even close to making up his mind yet. He told us.”

CNN has reached out to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady’s representatives and the NFL, but has not received a response to questions about the situation.

4:29 p.m. ET, January 29, 2022

Tom Brady agent says "Tom will be the only person to express his plans," according to report

From CNN's Homero De la Fuente

Tom Brady reacts in the second quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 23, in Tampa, Florida.
Tom Brady reacts in the second quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 23, in Tampa, Florida. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Tom Brady’s agent Don Yee released a statement on Saturday regarding news of Brady's retirement claims, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The statement, per Schefter, reads: “I understand the advance speculation about Tom’s future. Without getting into the accuracy or inaccuracy of what’s being reported, Tom will be the only person to express his plans with complete accuracy. He knows the realities of the football business and planning calendar as well as anybody, so that should be soon.”

Following the Bucs playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams this past Sunday, Brady thanked teammates, coaches and fans in an Instagram post amid retirement rumors.

“I understand that at this stage in my career, there is going to be interest in my future whenever a season ends, but this week, all that is on my mind is the gratitude I have for this team and the fans that have supported us all year long,” the seven-time Super Bowl champion said on Instagram.

Some context: The social media post followed an appearance with Jim Gray on Brady’s "Let’s Go!" podcast Monday as the two spoke about Brady’s intent to solicit his family’s opinions on whether the 44-year-old quarterback will return to play a 23rd NFL season in 2022.

“It’s not always what I want. It’s what we want as a family," Brady told Gray. “And I’m gonna spend a lot of time with them and figure out in the future what’s next.”

Brady’s full Instagram post can be found here.

CNN’s David Close contributed to this report.

4:36 p.m. ET, January 29, 2022

Tom Brady went from MAGA hat to mocking Trump's election lies

From CNN's Joe Ruiz

President Joe Biden laughs as quarterback Tom Brady jokes while speaking as the 2021 NFL Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are welcomed to the South Lawn of the White House on July 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.
President Joe Biden laughs as quarterback Tom Brady jokes while speaking as the 2021 NFL Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are welcomed to the South Lawn of the White House on July 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Tom Brady will technically retire as a champion considering this year’s Super Bowl is still weeks away, and while he only played seven games in his career against Washington’s football team (4-2 in the regular season, 1-0 in the playoffs), he was a player in Washington politics over the past few years. 

The 7-time Super Bowl winning quarterback and sure-fire hall of famer will retire after 22 seasons, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington and The Boston Globe, citing unnamed sources.

His friendship with former President Trump thrust Brady into the Beltway spotlight during Trump’s first campaign for President, and his joke last year over his friend’s 2020 election denial brought laughter at Trump’s expense.

Brady was seen with Trump’s iconic red MAGA hat in his locker two months after Trump announced his candidacy, and Brady appeared to endorse Trump soon thereafter, only to later say his words were taken out of context.

In 2017, after Trump won the presidency, Brady said his comments about NFL players protesting police brutality and inequality were “divisive” and that he disagreed with Trump saying that players who were kneeling should be fired. Earlier that year, Brady skipped out on visiting the White House for a celebration of his Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots, citing “personal family matters.” 

And last year, after Brady moved to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and helped them win the Super Bowl, Brady mocked Trump’s lie about winning the 2020 presidential election.

"Not a lot of people think that we could have won. In fact, I think about 40% of people still don't think we won. You understand that, Mr. President?" Brady said to the laughing crowd.

"I understand that," President Biden replied. 

And while Brady may no longer lead a 4th quarter comeback -- again -- and be one of the NFL’s most polarizing stars, he could still be a political player. During a 2005 interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” he said he had an interest in politics and would consider running for office in the future if he was still interested in it.

“If that chance does come up, and I'm still interested in it, I mean it would be something that I think I could do a decent job at,” he said. “When you think about things you like to do, you think about things that you could be good at, and that's one thing I think I could be good at. Whether I do it or not, I don't know. Who does?"

3:42 p.m. ET, January 29, 2022

Brady's journey from 199th draft pick to record-breaking NFL quarterback

From CNN's Steve Almasy and Homero De la Fuente

Tom Brady holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win in February 2021.
Tom Brady holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win in February 2021. (Ben Liebenberg/AP)

Selected by the Patriots with the 199th pick of the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady wasn't meant to be the starting quarterback; the Patriots already had three-time Pro Bowl selection Drew Bledsoe.

The Boston Herald reported Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said the team took Brady because he was the highest-rated player still available in the sixth round.

"He's a good, tough quarterback who played at a high level of competition,'' Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "We'll put him out there with everyone else and let him compete and see what happens.''

After Brady had a good training camp and preseason, the Patriots made the rare move of keeping him as a fourth-string quarterback.

He moved up the depth chart and in the second game of Brady's second season Bledsoe suffered a severe injury when he was slammed to the ground.

When Brady took over, the Patriots were coming off a losing season and had struggled in two losses to open the 2001 season.

But the young quarterback led them to 11 wins in their last 14 regular-season games and on to Super Bowl XXXVI. There the Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams on a last-second field goal after Brady completed five passes on the game-winning drive. It was the first of five times he would be selected as most valuable player in the game.

The Patriots collected Vince Lombardi trophies in 2004, 2005, 2015, 2017 and 2019.

His best season might have been in 2007 when the Patriots went undefeated in the regular season as Brady threw for a then-record 50 touchdowns and completed a league-high 68.9% of his passes. But the New York Giants upset the Patriots in one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever.

Brady's last season was filled with gaudy numbers, too: 5,316 yards passing and 43 touchdowns. While Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the overwhelming favorite to win the MVP award, Brady is the likely runner-up. Whoever wins will be MVP for the fourth time in their career.

CNN's Ray Sanchez and Jack Bantock contributed to this report.

3:41 p.m. ET, January 29, 2022

Former teammate says Brady "literally breathed football"

Donté Stallworth celebrates with Tom Brady during a game between the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars, in 2008.
Donté Stallworth celebrates with Tom Brady during a game between the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars, in 2008. (Matthew West/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald/Getty Images)

Donté Stallworth, a former NFL wide receiver who played on the New England Patriots with Tom Brady, said his former quarterback "literally breathed football."

Brady has decided to retire, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington and The Boston Globe, citing unnamed sources.

"Obviously outside of family, there was nothing more important to him than being the best player that he could be. And he put himself in position to not only be that player but to also, you know, expand the other player's abilities, and you know, make other players better players and more calm," Stallworth told CNN.  

Stallworth praised Brady's ability to put his all into the game and his stamina to stay in the NFL for 22 seasons.

"Whenever Brady's got two minutes left or whatever it is and he's got the ball, 99% of the time, he's going to put his team in a position to win that game, and he did that. ... Multiple times on the biggest stage he did it regularly, consistently throughout the season in his career. And it's just a testament to how much that he loved the game for someone, especially in today's era, for someone to stay in the NFL as long as he did," he said.

Stallworth said he had an inkling that Brady would retire because of recent remarks he's made.

"When he began to speak about being satisfied during the season and thanking the fans in Tampa, I kind of knew. I didn't hear this from him personally, but knowing him, he didn't want a farewell tour. That's not who he is," he said.

3:25 p.m. ET, January 29, 2022

NFL thanks Tom Brady in a tweet

The NFL tweeted its thanks to quarterback Tom Brady after reports that the legendary quarterback is retiring.

The league called him the "GOAT," which stands for "Greatest Of All Time," and included an illustration of him wearing his Super Bowl rings.

The NFL encouraged fans to use the hashtag #ThankYouTom to share their memories of Brady.

3:22 p.m. ET, January 29, 2022

7-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady retiring after 22 NFL seasons

From CNN's Homero DeLaFuente

Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers waves to the crowd after defeating the New England Patriots on October 3, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers waves to the crowd after defeating the New England Patriots on October 3, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Tom Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl winner who is considered one of the greatest NFL players of all time, has decided to retire, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington and The Boston Globe, citing unnamed sources.

Brady just wrapped up his 22nd season in the NFL and second with the Bucs. On Jan. 23, when Tampa Bay, the defending Super Bowl champion, lost to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Round, Brady said he would take the decision on his professional football future “day-by-day.” 

Brady is considered by many NFL observers to be the greatest quarterback of all time, having led the New England Patriots to six Super Bowl titles and the Bucs to one. No quarterback has thrown for more touchdowns, more yards or won more playoff games than Brady. He has also played in and won more regular-season games in his career than any other quarterback. 

More background: Brady is a 44-year-old father of three who has been married to supermodel Gisele Bündchen since 2009.

They have two children, a 12-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter. Brady has a 14-year-old son from a prior relationship with actress Bridget Moynahan.  

Brady told the SiriusXM “Let's Go!” podcast Jan. 24 that Bündchen and his children would be at the heart of any choice he made.