Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, widely regarded as the greatest player in the history of professional American football, announced his retirement on Tuesday after an age-defying career during which he won records in seven Super Bowl championships.
The 44-year-old Brady spent 20 seasons with the New England Patriots and won six Super Bowl titles in the National Football League (NFL), before moving to Tampa Bay and leading the Bucs to a championship last season.
“I have always believed that the sport of football is an ‘all-in’ proposal – if a 100% competitive commitment is not there, you will not succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game,” Brady wrote in a long posts on Twitter.
“There is a physical, mental and emotional challenge EVERY day that has enabled me to maximize my highest potential. And I have tried my very best for the last 22 years. There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life.
“This is hard for me to write, but here it comes: I’m not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I’ve loved my NFL career, and now it’s time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention. “
Brady’s decision follows a dominant season during which he led the NFL in touchdown passes and passing yards. He could win a fourth league’s most valuable player trophy, making him the oldest player to win the prize.
In his final game, the Brady Buccaneers collected from a 27-3 deficit in the second half against the Los Angeles Rams, but his team was eventually eliminated from the playoffs by a goal in the final second.
Born in Northern California, Brady was selected with the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft but broke most records in his position, including holding the mark as the all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns and quarterback victories.
He appeared in the record-breaking 10 Super Bowls, won the game’s MVP award five times, and his 15 Pro Bowl picks are the most in the league’s history.
Brady’s decision to retire is a sure first vote in the Hall of Famer after conflicting reports over the weekend about his competitive future.
“I have been reflecting a lot over the last week and have asked myself difficult questions,” Brady wrote.
“And I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved. My teammates, coaches, teammates and fans deserve 100 percent of me, but right now it’s best that I leave the playing field to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes.”