Tom Brady said it loud and clear, in a way that would make every middle-aged dad nod his head: “I got a lot of (expletive).“
It wasn’t a normal training camp, for sure. The Buccaneers quarterback took a controversial and mysterious 11-day hiatus as tabloids openly discussed his private family life. As Tampa Bay prepares to take the field Sunday night against the Cowboys in a highly anticipated game, that’s where everything stands with Brady.
The 45-year-old is heading into what is expected to be his final season in the NFL, according to sources with knowledge of his thinking. He’s never said it publicly, but multiple parties involved acknowledge it after last year isolation then non-retirement, the end is coming. That is the understanding that this is the final year.
As for his 11 day break, sources say Brady spent most of it in the Bahamas at a private resort with his family, fulfilling a mid-retirement promise he made to his wife, Gisele, that he would vacation with them in August for the first time in two. decades. During his time off, the Bucs left him alone to be with his family, fully respectful. There were no football conversations, the source said, no playbooks sent to the Bahamas. It was his personal situation, and they allowed him to live.
He returned to go 6 of 8 for 44 yards (with one wide receiver drop) in the preseason game against the Colts.
Brady was asked during his press conference this week if this will be his final season.
“I think we’re all getting older one day at a time,” Brady said. “We’re all not sure if we’re going to be here next year or not, that’s the reality for every player, every coach, every parent. You just never know. We should all take advantage of the opportunity we have.”
For only the second time in his career, Brady is not under contract for next season. The only other time Brady entered a season without being under contract for the upcoming season was in 2019, his final year in New England before. leaving for Tampa in free agency.
While one source close to Brady insisted it didn’t matter — a contract would be worked out if he returned — it’s worth noting. Brady will earn $30 million this year, including a $15 million signing bonus payment from his 2021 contract. He received a $13.88 million roster bonus the day after he signed a revised agreement in April and will make $1.12 million in base salary. But no new years were added to his current contract.
When asked if Brady would play for another team after this year since he is a free agent, a source close to the QB emphasized a lot the love Brady has for the Bucs, from the players to the coaches to the front office to the ownership.
Earlier in the summer, the Dolphins were found guilty of maltreatment for their dealings with Brady, with”numerous and detailed discussions” with Brady through vice president Bruce Beal. Brady was not disciplined.
Part of that illegal contact came while Brady was under contract with the Bucs, whose head coach at the time, Bruce Arians, said at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine they wouldn’t trade Brady for fewer than five first-round picks.
Regarding Brady’s retirement, one source close to him cautioned that emotions are fluid and decisions could always come down to who holds a trophy at the end of the season or feelings based around whether that person is Brady or not.. That is conceivable.
More likely, however, is that Brady will finish this year, then go to FOX Sports, where a 10-year, $375 million announcer/ambassador awaits.
Brady turned 45 on August 3, which is also significant. Brady has always said publicly and privately that he will play until 45. Last year, his brief retirement at age 44 left one head-scratching thing unanswered, which is why he pulled the plug a year earlier than planned.
After this year, it would be on time.