After 22 seasons in the NFL, Tom Brady's reign has officially come to an end.
Following reports hinting that the Super Bowl MVP would announce his retirement soon, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, 44, confirmed the news in a lengthy statement posted on Feb. 1.
"I have always believed the sport of football is an ‘all-in' proposition—if a 100% commitment isn't there, you won't succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game," Tom shared in his Instagram post. "There is a physical, mental, and emotional challenge EVERY single day that has allowed me to maximize my highest potential. And I have tried my very best for these past 22 years. There are no shortcuts on the field or in life."
"This is difficult to write, but here it goes," he continued. "I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I have loved my NFL career, and now it's time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention. I've done a lot of reflecting the past week and have asked myself difficult questions. And I am so proud of what we have achieved."
"My teammates, coaches, fellow competitors, and fans deserve 100% of me," he added. "But right now, it's best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes."
Before joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for his last two seasons from 2020 to 2021, Tom spent 20 seasons with the New England Patriots. Widely regarded as the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom has broken countless records as a quarterback including being the only Super Bowl MVP for two different franchises.
Following his announcement, NFL commissioner Roger Goddell released a statement honoring the athlete's career.
"Tom Brady will be remembered as one of the greatest to ever play in the NFL," the statement read. "An incredible competitor and leader, his stellar career is remarkable for its longevity but also for the sustained excellence he displayed year after year. Tom made everyone around him better and always seemed to rise to the occasion in the biggest moments. His record five Super Bowl MVP awards and seven Super Bowl championships set a standard that players will chase for years."
In addition to his fans and countless people who have helped him throughout his astounding career, Tom also thanked those closest to him for their support.
"To my wife, Gisele [Bündchen], and my children Jack, Benny and Vivi, you are my inspiration," he continued. "Our family is my greatest achievement. I always came off the field and home to the most loving and supportive wife who has done EVERYTHING for our family to allow me to focus on my career. Her selflessness allowed me to reach new heights professionally, and I am beyond words what you mean to me and our family. Te amo amor da minha vida."
He concluded, "My playing career has been such a thrilling ride, and far beyond my imagination, and full of ups and downs. When you're in it every day, you really don't think about any kind of ending. As I sit here now, however, I think of all the great players and coaches I was privileged to play with and against—the competition was fierce and deep, JUST HOW WE LIKE IT. But the friendships and relationships are just as fierce and deep. I will remember and cherish these memories and re-visit them often. I feel like the luckiest person in the world."