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Tom Brady could return in 2023, offers timetable for retirement

Vincent Frank

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady briefly retired this past offseason, only to come back quicker than his former New England Patriots team did in the Super Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons years before.

For the soon-to-be 45-year-old Brady, the short-lived retirement seemed to remind him how much he would miss football once he does step away.

Entering the 2022 season, there has not been much coming from the seven-time Super Bowl champion about a future beyond the next several months. Until now.

Brady just recently sat down with Variety to discuss his short retirement, return to the NFL and a future beyond the 2022 campaign. To say that he played it coy would be an understatement.

“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.”

Tom Brady on his future in the NFL

It could easily be concluded that Brady opted to return for the 2022 season after the bitter end for his Buccaneers in the playoffs.

Tampa Bay fell to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round after Brady helped it hoist the Lombardi in his first season with the organization.

“I think that would obviously be the greatest way to end. I just have a competitive fire that got the best of me.”

Tom Brady on the potential of retirement following an eighth Super Bowl win

It’s interesting in that Brady previously discussed the possibility of playing until he was 50. With how well he’s performed at an advanced age, we wouldn’t put it past him. Despite that, it doesn’t appear to be in the cards.

Related: Tom Brady and NFL’s top QBs of 2022

Tom Brady and the future of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB position

NFL top 100 players, Tom Brady
Dec 26, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) on the field in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

When Brady retired early in the offseason, Tampa Bay kicked the tires on multiple possibilities at quarterback. Instead, it has no real heir-apparent. A second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, it’s an open question whether Kyle Trask is a long-term solution. Outside of that, the Bucs boast veteran journeyman Blaine Gabbert.

For general manager Jason Licht and Co., it’s all about playing this year to year. The Bucs can’t ask for Brady to commit to more than one season. They don’t have the resources to bring in a potential replacement right now. With Brady still playing at a high level, looking more short term makes the most sense for Tampa.

Tom Brady stats (2021): 68% completion, 5,316 yards, 43 TD, 6 INT, 102.1 QB rating

An argument can be made that Brady is coming off his best performance since all the way back in 2010. He’s not slowing down. That’s for sure.

As for the Buccaneers, they are set up to contend for a Super Bowl title over the short-term. Anything after that remains firmly up in the air starting with Tom Terrific himself.

Related: Top 100 NFL players of 2022

For an organization that was seemingly irrelevant prior to Brady’s shocking arrival in 2020, it’s certainly better than the alternative. It’s now all about whether GOAT performs at a high level in 2022, remains 100% healthy and leads the Buccaneers to title contention.