The 44-year-old quarterback announced his return to Tampa Bay after previously retiring.
After roughly a month of retirement, Tom Brady announced his return to football via social media Sunday afternoon. In his tweet, Brady said his “place was still on the field, not the stands,” while posting photos of the Buccaneers offensive line and his family.
Brady’s return has been speculated about since he decided to retire in February. Many fans thought the original decision was not final and Brady would change his mind on the matter. Few, however, expected his retirement to last for merely 40 days.
Comparisons have already been made to another NFL great, Brett Farve, who famously retired three times in his career.
These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. 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 pic.twitter.com/U0yhRKVKVm
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) March 13, 2022
Brady after his kids accidentally changed the channel for the 5th time. pic.twitter.com/1KngLSNbqG
— Will Blackmon 🍷 (@WillBlackmon) March 14, 2022
Even Bucaneer’s head coach Bruce Arians considered Brady’s decision to be final. When asked about the quarterback’s status at the NFL combine, Arians reaffirmed his belief that Brady was done. According to NFL Insider Ian Rappaport, Arians described Brady’s return as “total excitement.”
Brady’s decision comes at an ideal time for Tampa. With NFL free agency beginning at noon on March 14, the decision to come out of retirement could help the Buccaneers re-sign key free agents like Ryan Jensen, Rob Gronkowski and Leonard Fournette.
Securing the quarterback position for the Buccaneers would have likely been a challenge had Brady decided to stay retired. Kyle Trask is the only quarterback under contract as Blaine Gabbert is set to become a free agent. Prior to Brady’s decision, Tampa emerged as a frontrunner to land Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson. Brady’s return saves Tampa from losing players or picks in a deal for Watson.
With the 27th pick in the NFL draft, the Buccaneers also avoided having to draft a quarterback in what is generally considered a weak quarterback class. The trade market for quarterbacks is also slim as of late. Russell Wilson’s trade to Denver and Aaron Rodgers’ decision to resign with the Packers leaves less than desirable options to trade for.
The biggest question now is Rob Gronkowski’s status. The 32-year-old tight end has played the entirety of his career with Brady at the helm. Gronkowski, who considered retirement this season, has yet to make a decision as he becomes a free agent for the second time in his career. Tennessee emerged as a potential landing spot, however, Brady’s decision could bring Gronkowski back to Tampa.
Entering into the 2022-23 season, the Buccaneers will certainly become favorites to win the NFC south. In a division riddled with uncertainties at the quarterback position, Brady returns as easily the best in the division with his only competition being Atlanta’s Matt Ryan.
With Brady’s return it’s impossible not to consider the Buccaneers Super Bowl favorites as well. Even at 44, Brady elevates their offense to an elite level, as evidenced by his stats last season. Tampa will now compete with the Rams, Packers and 49ers as the favorites for the NFC championship.
The Buccaneers open the 2022-23 season in Arizona before facing a host of Super Bowl contenders like San Francisco, Green Bay, Los Angeles and Kansas City.