Tom Brady on eventual retirement: ‘I’ve realized I don’t have five years left’

By Kevin Patra, Around the NFL Writer

Soon-to-be 45-year-old Tom Brady knows he doesn’t have a handful of years left in the NFL.

During a wide-ranging interview in May with Ramin Setoodeh of Variety, Brady said he doesn’t have a set plan for when he might retire but noted he’s “very close to the end.”

“I really don’t (know when I’ll be done playing),” Brady said in the interview, which was published Thursday. “I would say it’s year to year: Could this be my last year? Absolutely. Could I change my mind? Absolutely. I’ve realized I don’t have five years left. I want to do it my way. I want to give it everything I got and see where I’m at. My body feels really good. I’ve had a lot of traumatic injuries over the years, but if things go really smoothly and we win, that’d be great.”

Brady famously “retired” in February, which lasted 40 days before the fierce competitor returned to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I made the decision in the moment, and I felt it was the right thing for the team to let the Bucs know,” Brady told Setoodeh. “You need time to plan. And then through conversations with Bruce [Arians, the team’s former coach], Jason [Licht, general manager] and my wife, I felt like I could still play and compete.

“And it’s not that I’m any less committed once I say that it’s a yes, but I’ve got a 14-year-old son who lives in New York City — he wants time. My wife, she’s been incredibly supportive of my career over a long period of time. So I had to talk with her, you know what I mean? Those decisions get made with me as a family. And I have two younger kids, one 12 and one 9 — everyone’s got challenging lives.”

Brady admitted a 40-day retirement created a unique situation.

“I know, I know. I would have preferred to un-retire in July if I wanted to play,” he said. “But I couldn’t. If I said I’m not playing, they’d make plans. So I felt there was a lot of pressure to make a decision quickly. And then ultimately, I just decided, ‘Yes, let’s do it.’ And once I said that, it was like — OK, here we go.”

Brady, who is involved in a host of off-field businesses, including a fitness company, clothing line, production company, an NFT platform, and other ventures, agreed to join FOX Sports on a lengthy, lucrative contract once he eventually retires.

Asked if we might not see TB12 with FOX for another two or three years, the QB kept it open-ended.

“Obviously, there’s a chance. But I’m very close to the end,” he said.

Brady said if the Bucs miss the playoffs this season, he has no plans to jump on a FOX broadcast in January as a test run.

“No. I want to focus on football,” he said. “I really want to commit to this year to be as best as I possibly can.”

And when he eventually does retire for real, Brady won’t completely abandon all that has made him the G.O.A.T.

“It’s not even about the diet,” Brady said when Setoodeh mentioned most view him as a strict eater. “You’ve got to see the process of food being grown. Just because it’s in a grocery store doesn’t mean it’s food. My view of food is, like, I need things that are going to give my body what it needs. Does that make sense? I don’t want calories. If I need nutrients, I need that from soil. It’s not going to be from Frosted Flakes. Now, because they sell it in a grocery store, people correlate that to ‘I’m going to get food.’ In my view, that food would have never allowed me to play football until I’m 44.”

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