Tom Brady made his retirement official on Tuesday.
The 44-year-old quarterback with a record seven Super Bowl rings said goodbye in a short Instagram post after a weekend of rumours that the end of his NFL career defined by winning was near.
“I have always believed the sport of football is an all-in proposition,” Brady wrote.
“If a 100 per cent competitive commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game.
“There is a physical, mental, and emotional challenge EVERY single day that has allowed me to maximise my highest potential. And I have tried my very best these past 22 years. There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life.
“This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I have loved my NFL career and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention.”
Brady thanked his past teammates and coaches, and told his current Tampa Bay teammates he loved them in the multipart post that included personal references to Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht, head coach Bruce Arians, personal trainer Alex Guerrero, agent Don Yee, Brady’s parents and wife, Gisele.
He initially did not mention the New England Patriots, their head coach Bill Belichick or franchise owner Robert Kraft.
Brady and Belichick own the record for Super Bowl appearances (nine) as a player and coach combination.
About three hours after omitting the Patriots, he took to Twitter to acknowledge the team with which he spent the first 20 years of his career – and won six Super Bowls with.
“Thank You Patriots Nation (heart emoji) I’m beyond grateful. Love you all,” he wrote on Twitter.
That came on the heels of Brady’s lengthy post that tried to encapsulate a soon-to-be Hall of Fame career.
“My playing career has been such a thrilling ride, beyond my imagination, and full of ups and downs… I feel like the luckiest person in the world,” Brady wrote.
The Patriots posted an illustration of Brady riding a duck boat off into the sunset with the caption: “It was quite the ride. Thank you and congratulations.”
The Glazer family, owners of the Buccaneers, also said “goodbye to a legend.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on Tuesday that Brady will be remembered as “one of the greatest to ever play in the NFL.”
Brady said “the future is exciting” and pointed to personal and business ventures that have his interest, but his primary focus becomes “my greatest achievement,” which he said was his family.
Tom Brady’s career highlights
Drafted in the sixth round by the Patriots in 2000, with the 199th pick
Seven-time Super Bowl champion. Appeared in nine Super Bowls with Patriots, winning six (following 2001, 2003-04, 2014, 2016, 2018 seasons). Won only Super Bowl with the Buccaneers (following 2020 season)
Three-time NFL MVP
Most Pro Bowl selections (15)
Most Super Bowl MVP awards (5)
Most career wins (243)
Most passing yards (84,520)
Most passes attempted (11,317)
Most passes completed (7,263)
Most passing touchdowns (624)
Most games started (316)
Most playoff games played (47)
Most playoff games won (35)
Most playoff passing yards (13,049)
Most playoff passing yards in a game (505)
Most playoff touchdowns (86)