By Brendan O’Brien
(Reuters) -Tom Brady, who won seven Super Bowls and is widely considered the greatest National Football League quarterback ever, said on Wednesday he was retiring, a year after he made the same announcement only to change his mind weeks later.
Unlike his first retirement when he made the announcement in a lengthy well-crafted post on social media, this time Brady was short, direct and seemingly spontaneous looking as if he had come to the decision while out for a morning jog.
“Good morning guys I will get to the point right away, I am retiring for good,” said Brady, at times struggling to contain his emotions during a 53-second video message posted on Twitter.
“I know the process was a pretty big deal last time so when I woke up this morning I just pressed record and let you guys know first. I won’t be long-winded, you only get one super emotional retirement essay and I used mine up last year.”
The 45-year-old Brady spent 20 seasons with the New England Patriots before relocating to Florida and leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl championship in 2021.
He retired after last season but reversed course 40 days later and returned to the Buccaneers, leading them to the playoffs again in the current season before the team was eliminated by the Dallas Cowboys last week.
In October, halfway through the season, Brady announced that he and his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, had ended their 13-year marriage. They have two children together.
Brady’s commitment to continue playing was believed to be one of the wedges that drove the couple to divorce.
Bundchen had expressed worry over Brady’s health playing in the often violent workplace that is the National Football League, conceding in an Elle magazine story that she had those discussions with her husband adding, “I would like him to be more present”.
The northern California native is widely regarded as the best quarterback in league history. He appeared in a record 10 Super Bowls, winning the game seven times.
He also won the Super Bowl MVP award five times and his 15 Pro Bowl selections are the most in league history. He was named the league’s most valuable player three times.
A lightly regarded prospect coming out of the University of Michigan, Brady was the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. But he made the most of his opportunities and quickly turned around the fortunes of the Patriots franchise. He would go on to build one of the greatest dynasties across any sport.
Brady now appears headed to the television broadcast booth having already agreed to a reported 10-year $375 million contract to join FOX Sports as lead analyst and ambassador for the network.
Coming ahead of Groundhog Day in the United States on Thursday, some on social media pointed out that they had heard this before.
There were a number of teams reportedly interested in signing the free agent future Hall of Famer for next season, including the Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins.
While Brady appeared frustrated and weary at times throughout last season he still produced on the field leading the Buccaneers to the playoffs.
He passed for 4,694 yards, ranking him behind only Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl-bound Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles Chargers Justin Herbert and his 25 touchdown passes were among the top 10 in the league.
Word of Brady’s second retirement again sparked tributes across social media from around the world.
“Greatest of All Time. No question, no debate,” said three-time NFL defensive player of the year J.J. Watt, who announced his retirement earlier this year. “It’s been an honor and a privilege.”
England soccer captain Harry Kane offered his congratulations and said he looked forward to catching up with Brady at a totally different sport.
“Congrats on an amazing career @TomBrady,” tweeted the Tottenham Hotspur striker. “See you on the golf course soon.”
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien and Katharine Jackson and Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Josie Kao, Christian Radnedge and Toby Davis)