He famously (or rather infamously, if you’re his ex-wife Gisele Bundchen) retired from the NFL only to unretire 40 days later. But news Tom Brady is returning to the Patriots, the team where he spent most of his career, sent the NFL community into a frenzy on May 11, 2023.
Picked up by New England in the 2000 NFL Draft in 199th overall in round six, Brady was selected with an underwhelming scout report. But just two years into his starting career at the Pats, he’d be the league’s top passing touchdown leader and would lead his team to their first Super Bowl victory—defeating the St. Louis Rams by three points. Brady would take his team to nine Super Bowls and they’d win six of them.
After 20 years with the Patriots, Brady announced in March 2020 that he had signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and took them to his seventh Super Bowl win in 2021 against the Kansas City Chiefs. A year later, in February 2022, Brady announced his retirement from the game but 40 days later, he revealed he would return to the Buccs for 2022. After a lackluster season, Brady announced he was retiring “for good”. But did he, once again, speak too soon?
Calm down, sports fans, Tom Brady isn’t returning to the Patriots to play, and yes, he’s still retired. At his ‘unofficial’ retirement party in South Florida, hosted by Autograph, in March 2023, Brady said: “There is nothing I love more than football, but I have young children and they watched enough of their dad’s games and it’s time for me to watch their games.”
But team owner Robert Kraft confirmed the NFL GOAT will be honored at New England’s season opener against the Miami Dolphins. “Not only do I want it, our fans are clamoring for it,” Kraft told NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. “To us, he is always has been and always will be a Patriot. We will do everything in our power to bring him back, have him sign off as a Patriot and find ways to honor him for many years to come.”
Brady called it quits on February 1, 2023. In a teary announcement posted to Twitter, he said: “I know the process was a pretty big deal last time, so when I woke up this morning I figured I’d just press record, and let you guys know first,” Tom filmed his retirement speech on a beach. “It won’t be long-winded, you only get one super-emotional retirement essay and I used mine up last year, so. I…really thank you, guys, so much to every single one of you, for supporting me, my family, my friends, teammates, my competitors. I could go on forever. There’s too many. Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream. I wouldn’t change a thing. Love you all.”
On February 2, Kraft told CNN that he wanted Brady to sign a one-day contract so he could officially retire as a Patriot—where, in his 20 years at the team, six of the seven Brady’s Super Bowls were won. “The NFL is over a century old, and 20 percent of those years of the NFL, the greatest player in the history of the game played right here in Foxboro, and I’m happy to tell you and your audience that I invited him back to come here and be with us at the opening game and let the fans in New England thank him for the great service he gave us for over 20 years,” Kraft said.
The superstar quarterback will have to wait until at least 2028 for his induction into the NFL Hall Of Fame because he played in the 2022 season. NFL players have to be inactive for at least five straight seasons, according to the Hall of Fame’s official website. So Brady will have to wait five years after the 2023 season for the Class of 2028 Hall of Fame inductions.
“The committee tasked with nominating Hall of Famers consists of one media representative from each pro football city,” per the website. “Every candidate is carefully scrutinized and must receive at least 80 percent approval of the Committee at the annual meeting before he or she can be elected,” though it doesn’t list exactly what sort of criteria it uses to make its final decision. Brady’s contribution to the game should be a no-brainer, however. He’s a five-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player and three-time Most Valuable Player in the NFL. Brady holds records for most career quarterback wins (251) most passing touchdowns (649) and most career passing yards (89,214).
“Both personally and professionally, I have faced challenges and sought out people who had better professional insights where I could use their experiences to learn from,” he told Forbes in an interview published in 2020. “In my young career, I doubted myself a lot. When I saw things that weren’t going my way, I thought I was the victim of circumstance. But when I changed, shifted my view and my mind to say ‘I am not a victim, why don’t I empower myself’ I could grow in ways I was struggling. Through working with psychologists and others, I learned you have to face the challenges and look at them as opportunities for growth. It was a lot of work, but it really paid off in my life. My wife uses a great line, ‘The teacher appears when the student is ready.’ You can’t force something to happen in your life. You have to just be open and embrace them when the time is right.”
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