There are certain athletes who simply can’t separate themselves from competition.
Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Jaromir Jagr, and Roger Clemens, all continued playing well past their primes, unable to shed their competitive desires. The same can be said about Tom Brady, though it’s still to be seen whether he continued playing one year too long.
“At the end of the day, I just love the competition on the field,” Brady told ESPN. “And last year was a very bitter ending to a season and we’ve got to make a lot of corrections to try to improve and put ourselves in a better position to succeed moving forward.”
On February 1, Brady officially announced his retirement from football — days after rumors swirled that he was hanging up his helmet — saying that he was “not going to make that competitive commitment anymore.”
“This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore,” Brady posted to social media. “I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention.”
Following the announcement, there were still many who weren’t sure that Brady’s time on the field had really come to an end. In 2021, Brady threw for the most yards of his career (5,316) and the second most touchdowns of his career (43), as Tampa Bay won 13 regular season games. There was a feeling that Brady still had something left in the tank, calling it quits with more to give.
The feeling was validated 40 days after Brady’s retirement announcement, with the GOAT informing the football world that he would be returning for his 23rd NFL season.
“These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands,” Brady posted to Twitter. “That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG.”
Brady told ESPN that he knows he has more to give, though he’s aware that we’re rapidly approaching the end.
“I knew my body, physically, could still do what it could do and obviously I have a love for the game, I think I’ll always have a love for the game,” Brady told ESPN. “I do think physically I’ll be able to do it. I just felt like there was still a place for me on the field.”
“I know I don’t have a lot left, I really do. I know I’m at the end of my career,” Brady continued. “I wish you could go forever, but it’s just not and football comes at too high of a cost now. My kids are getting older and it’s just getting harder and harder to miss these things.
“But, I wanted to give myself and my teammates and our organization another incredible opportunity to accomplish something that we’d all be very proud of,” he added.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.