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Buccaneers QB Tom Brady planning to retire from NFL after 22 seasons

The greatest NFL player of all time is calling it a career.

Multiple sources close to Tom Brady tell NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that the Buccaneers and former Patriots quarterback is planning to retire after 22 seasons in the NFL.

ESPN first reported the news.

Brady's longtime agent, Don Yee, later released a statement indicating an official announcement on Brady's future should be coming soon.

"I understand the advance speculation about Tom's future," Yee said in a statement obtained by Rapoport. "Without getting into the accuracy or inaccuracy of what's being reported, Tom will be the only person to express his plans with complete accuracy. He knows the realities of the football business and planning calendar as well as anybody, so that should be soon."

Rapoport later reported that Brady has not informed the Buccaneers of his plans, and Tom Brady Sr. told NFL Network's Mike Giardi on Saturday that his son "has not made a final decision one way or the other."

Rapoport explained on NFL Network the current situation regarding Brady's future and the timing of Saturday's news.

"My understanding confirming the initial report, is that Tom Brady does plan to retire," Rapoport said. "I talked to several people close to him and they believe he has played his last down of football. … This sounds to me, taking all of this together, to be an issue of timing more than anything. Brady is very in charge and in control of his brand. He generally has fantastically well-produced announcements."

Rapoport added: "Brady is on vacation and far away from what I can tell. The fact that this got out now has no doubt frustrated him to no end. Again, this is someone who is extremely in charge of his brand, in everything that is produced, everything around him, everything social media puts out. They do a great job. But this is very un-Brady-like. The fact that the Buccaneers have not yet been informed that he is for sure walking away, probably is not a good look. I think Brady handles everything first class. I'm sure that he is steaming that this got out. However, I do believe this is true, that he is, in fact, going to retire."

If this is indeed the end for Brady, the 44-year-old will walk away after the most prolific career in football history.

Brady was famously selected in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, 199th overall by the New England Patriots. Sporting an unparalleled competitive drive, the QB used that draft status to fuel his Hall of Fame career.

Brady took over as the full-time starter in New England during his second NFL season, and the rest, as they say, is history.

TB12 walks away with a trophy case overflowing with awards.

Brady is a seven-time Super Bowl champion, three-time NFL MVP, five-time Super Bowl MVP, two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year, three-time first-team All-Pro honoree, three-time second-team All-Pro, 15-time Pro Bowler and 2009 Comeback Player of the Year winner. He was named to the NFL's 2000s All-Decade Team, the 2010s All-Decade Team and the NFL's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

It might be easier to list the quarterbacking records Brady doesn't own at this point.

The G.O.A.T. ranks No. 1 in NFL history in completions (7,263), pass attempts (11,317), yards (84,520), passing TDs (624), starts (316), QB wins (243), Pro Bowl nods (15), and Super Bowl MVPs (five). In addition, Brady led the NFL in TD passes five times (2002, 2007, 2010, 2015, 2021), the most such seasons by any player in NFL history.

If an athlete's legacy is evaluated by postseason performances, not a single football player can hold a candle to Brady. No QB comes remotely close to his playoff success. In his 22-season career, Brady made 19 appearances, started 47 games, earned 35 wins, 10 Super Bowl appearances, seven Super Bowl wins, 1,165 postseason completions, 13,049 postseason passing yards, 86 postseason passing TDs, 14 game-winning drives, and nine fourth-quarter comebacks, all most in NFL history.

No player in league history has defined winning like Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr.

A slow, famously doughy quarterback coming out of the University of Michigan, Brady's tenacity and drive to win chiseled him into the greatest player in the NFL. He might not have been the most athletically gifted ever to set foot on the gridiron, but no player worked harder before the snap or controlled the game mentally like Brady. As a result, the sage QB often won a play before the ball was even snapped.

That's not to suggest Brady didn't possess other-worldly talent as well. Throughout his career, he defied pass rushers with the most subtle pocket movement that gave him just enough space to complete the pass -- a trait that frustrated defenders for two decades. Moreover, he never lost the pinpoint accuracy that defined his career. And his deep ball was just as pretty when he was lighting up the scoreboard to Randy Moss as it was on the final TD pass of his career -- a gorgeous 55-yarder to Mike Evans.

Brady was a winner from start to finish. His worst record as a starter was 9-7, in just his third year in the NFL. For his career, he's gone 243-73-0 with the Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A 20-year career in New England brought Brady six Super Bowls and the G.O.A.T. title. TB12 and Bill Belichick formed the most successful QB-coach duo in the Super Bowl era.

But after the 2019 season, Brady set out to prove he could still win outside of New England.

Prove it, he did.

A free agent for the first time in his career, Brady signed in Tampa Bay in 2020. He immediately turned a talented but flawed club, which hadn't been to the postseason in 12 seasons, into a winner. Brady led the Bucs to a Super Bowl championship in his first season in Tampa. The victory washed away any questions about whether TB12 was simply a byproduct of Belichick's system and cemented his status as the G.O.A.T.

Brady often discussed his desire to play until he was 45. He retires one year short of that stated goal.

At 44 years old, Brady displayed zero signs of decline in 2021 as he led the NFL in passing yards (5,316), pass TDs (43) and completions (485). Brady also spearheaded the Bucs to their first NFC South division title since 2007 despite a rash of injuries across the roster. The G.O.A.T. nearly drove the Bucs to a miraculous playoff comeback win, surging from a 27-3 deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round. But a late defensive collapse opened the door for L.A. to kick a game-winning field goal in what ends up Brady's final NFL game.

Many QBs fall off a cliff late in their careers. Not Brady.

The man who stiff-armed Father Time his entire career once again got the last laugh as he walks away still at the top of his game, on his own terms.

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