News that Tom Brady was ending his brief retirement and returning to the NFL should not have been a surprise, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
Brady, 44, on Sunday evening abruptly ended his six-week retirement and announced he would return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 23rd NFL season.
Although social media blew up immediately following Brady’s announcement on Twitter, WSJ said there had been numerous signs that the seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback wasn't finished playing — not the least being that he led the league in passing yards and touchdowns last season before Tampa Bay lost in the divisional round of the playoffs to the eventual champion Los Angeles Rams.
Even Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht didn't sound surprised Sunday with his statement released after Brady announced he would return.
"We said we would leave all options open for him should he reconsider his retirement and today’s announcement is something we have been preparing for in recent days," Licht said, WSJ reported.
After Brady told the world he had retired, the Buccaneers never placed the future Hall of Famer on the league's list for retired players. In contrast, after guard Ali Marpet announced his retirement Feb. 27, Tampa Bay placed him on the list March 9.
Brady himself sounded uncertain about his plans.
Less than a week after saying Feb. 1 he had retired, Brady offered a "never say never" on his "Let’s Go!" podcast after being asked whether he could return.
After saying, "I feel very good about my decision,” on his Feb. 7 podcast, Brady returned the next week to say, "All you can do is take it day by day."
The quarterback had said that spending more time with his family motivated him to retire. But on a recent radio appearance, he said, "I’ve done that for the last five weeks," the Tampa Bay Times reported.
"Looking forward to some golf in the next few days and some more family time, and then we’ll figure out where we go from there," Brady added.
At an NFL scouting event on March 1, Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians said the Buccaneers were prepared for the possibility that Brady could return.
"That door is never closed," Arians said. "Whenever Tom wants back, he's back."
While there had been some rumors that Brady was trying to force a trade to another team — such as the San Francisco 49ers, for whom Brady rooted as a boy — Arians said he would not consider letting Brady join another team. "Nope. It's bad business," Arians said.
As late as Saturday, Brady deflected Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo’s question: "You're finished, right?"
Brady offered his direct answer Sunday.
"These past two months I've realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come. But it's not now," he wrote on social media. "I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I'm coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa."
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.