It may be the end of an era for the sports world.
On Saturday, Jan. 29, ESPN cited sources saying that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, 44 and widely considered the greatest football player of all time, is set to retire from the NFL after 22 seasons. He has not confirmed the news himself.
"I understand the advance speculation about Tom's future," Brady's agent, Don Yee, later told the outlet in a statement. "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."
Following ESPN's report, the NFL tweeted on Saturday, Jan. 29," citing its correspondent Ian Rapoport, "7x Super Bowl champion Tom Brady retiring after 22 NFL seasons."
Also following ESPN's report, a tweet was posted by Brady's health and wellness company, TB12 Sports. It read, "7 Super Bowl Rings. 5 Super Bowl MVPs. 3 League MVP Awards. 22 Incredible Seasons. Thank you for it all, @TomBrady." The post was later deleted.
A source told told E! News that Brady contacted Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht to inform him he has yet to make a final decision about his future.
NFL Network reporter Mike Giardi tweeted that Brady's father, Tom Brady Sr., told him, "This story Mike is total conjecture. Tommy has not made a final decision one way or the other and anybody else that says that he has is absolutely wrong."
ESPN reported that the athlete's dad also told them in a text that "Tommy has made no such determination" regarding his playing future. The outlet also said Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said the star had not notified him or the team of his plans to retire.
Earlier Saturday, sources close to the matter told ESPN that Brady's decision to retire is based on several factors, including family and health, and that he also recognized that the Buccaneers are likely to undergo significant roster turnover.
Brady recently concluded his second season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who lost to the Los Angeles Rams in mid-January. He previously led the New England Patriots for 20 seasons.
The star athlete, who holds NFL records such as most touchdown passes (624), most completed passes (7,263) and most passing yards (84,520), had said on his Let's Go podcast in mid-January that he was "satisfied" with his career and cited family reasons as a factor in any future decision to retire, ESPN reported. Brady shares two children—Benjamin, 12, and Vivian, 9—with wife Gisele Bündchen. He also has a 14-year-old son, John "Jack" Edward Thomas Moynahan, with ex Bridget Moynahan.
"I said this a few years ago, it's what relationships are all about," he said. "It's not always what I want. It's what we want as a family. And I'm going to spend a lot of time with them and figure out in the future what's next."
Brady has often been asked about his retirement plans. In June 2021, Brady told USA Today, "I've always said 45 was the age that I wanted to reach and that was my goal. This year I'll be 44, so next year I'll be 45. I got a two-year contract."
Brady will turn 45 in August.
Following ESPN's report about his retirement, sports journalist Rich Eisen tweeted, "There will quite simply never be anyone else like @TomBrady who will forever be synonymous with winning, dedication, hard work, longevity, teamwork and, oh yes, more winning. His career will forever be the NFL's measuring stick. Good luck to everyone else being measured."