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CAPE FEAR MEMORIAL BRIDGE: Updates, resources, and context

Tom Brady announces his retirement from the NFL (again)

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Quarterback Tom Brady has announced his retirement from pro football again. He retired a year ago, but returned for one more season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But today, he said he means it this time, and his playing career is indeed over. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman is not retired, so he's going to join us to talk about Tom Brady's legacy. Tom, a very simple, to-the-point 53-second video message on Twitter. What did he have to say?

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Well, you said it. Tom Brady is retiring. That's what he said. He appeared to have recorded the message on a beach - no notes, just a man and his phone. The essence, right? Sitting in front of some high-rise buildings, he looked relaxed. There was a hint of emotion. Here he is.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TOM BRADY: I 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. I love you all.

MARTÍNEZ: You know, Tom, seeing Brady retire today made me remember what Yankees Hall-of-Famer Yogi Berra once said. It's like deja vu all over again. So what can you tell us about retirement No. 1?

GOLDMAN: Well, it happened exactly a year ago. So Tom Brady does have a sense of symmetry. His essay at the time talked about the need for a football player to have a 100% committed - competitive commitment and that he didn't have it anymore. And then about 40 days later, he rediscovered it because he unretired. Many football fans rejoiced, but it is said that was a major factor in breaking up his long-time marriage to supermodel Gisele Bundchen.

MARTÍNEZ: All right, so tell us about his resume, because I'm sure he's going to be in the Hall of Fame. So who are the NFL fans losing?

GOLDMAN: Pretty much agreed that he's the GOAT, the greatest of all time. A great story of a guy who got drafted by New England in the sixth round, 199th overall, got his chance when New England's starting quarterback got injured and Brady was off. He and New England head coach Bill Belichick dominated the NFL during most of his 23-year career. They won six Super Bowls together. He won one Super Bowl with Tampa Bay, giving him a total of seven. But, yeah, that resume is bulging. And it includes three times NFL MVP, five times Super Bowl MVP, named to the NFL's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, No. 1 in pass completions, passing yards, passing touchdowns, quarterback wins. Now, A, of course, for legions of New England haters out there, we have to throw in that he served a four-game suspension in 2016 for the scandal known as Deflategate. The NFL decided Brady was, quote, "generally aware" that his team deflated footballs to get an advantage in a playoff game the year before.

MARTÍNEZ: You know, I used to hear from old Mets fans from the '60s who couldn't stand seeing Willie Mays at 40 kind of stumble around the center field at Shea Stadium.

GOLDMAN: Yeah.

MARTÍNEZ: So a lot of famous athletes retire way too long or at least didn't retire early enough. What about Brady?

GOLDMAN: Seems like he did OK. He made it to 45 as an NFL quarterback, which is remarkable. And he stayed relevant. He threw for the third-most passing yards in the league this season, completed nearly 70% of his passes. But Tampa Bay finished with a losing record - Brady's first in his career. Certainly, he does know the NFL is becoming, for quarterbacks, no place for old men. In this past weekend's Conference Championship games, the average age of the four starting QBs was 25 years old.

MARTÍNEZ: That's NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman. Tom, thanks.

GOLDMAN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

A Martínez
A Martínez is one of the hosts of Morning Edition and Up First. He came to NPR in 2021 and is based out of NPR West.
Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and on NPR.org.