Six days removed from announcing his decision to retire via Instagram, Tom Brady offered his first comments on the matter.
Brady briefly explained what was behind his decision, expressed gratitude for the outpouring of emotion he received and ever so slightly left the door ajar for a possible return on Monday's Let's Go! With Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray podcast.
"I'm just gonna take things as they come," Brady said when asked if he would entertain thoughts of coming back. "I think that's the best way to put it and I don't think anything, you know, you never say never. At the same time I know that I'm very, I feel very good about my decision. I don't know how I'll feel six months from now.
"I try to make the best possible decision I can in the moment, which I did this last week. And, again, I think it's not looking to reverse course, I'm definitely not looking to do that. But in the same time I think you have to be realistic that you never know what challenges there are gonna be in life. Again, I loved playing. I'm looking forward to doing things other than playing. That's as honest as I can be."
Brady's announcement came just a day after his last podcast appearance in which he said he was still "going through the process" just two days after it was initially reported the seven-time Super Bowl champion was planning to call it a career.
At 44-years-old with 15 Pro Bowls, three AP NFL Most Valuable Player nods and too many records to count in his back pocket, Brady explained that it wasn't an inability to devote himself to the game, but rather what he was missing outside of the game that weighed heavily in his decision.
"I think the choice is, everything certainly comes at a cost, and the cost is what am I missing out on other aspects of my life?," Brady said. "And things that are, as you get older, you experience things that are outside of the sport that demand the level of attention and energy that football has always gotten. And it's time for me to commit to those types of things. A lot of things have come up over the years in the last 10 years of my life as I've got closer to this decision this last week and it just in the end felt like it was just the right time to do it. I think for anyone who loves the sport like I have over the years it'll always be in my heart, as it should be, because I've committed a lot of time and energy and hours to it. But at the same time, there's a time and place for everything. I've had an amazing time and place doing it and I'm just, I am really excited for what's ahead and I don't know what that means or where it takes me, but I know that it'll be fun and exciting and I'm gonna make the most of whatever opportunities present themselves as I go forward."
Clarifying that it wasn't about his ability to devote himself mentally, he likewise underscored there was nothing physically preventing him from keeping his career going. Evidence supporting that was provided in the 2021 season, as Brady led the league in passing touchdowns and passing yards.
"I was fortunate to do it for a long time, for 22 years," the future Hall of Famer said. "I did it at the highest level and I had the best teammates and mentors and coaches and friends. And, again, it's just pretty simple, it's just there's time for other things, I need to make time for other things in my life. And it's exciting for me to be able to really enjoy some of those new moments as well."
There was an overwhelming amount of reaction and congratulation when it was initially reported Brady was planning to return through his Instagram announcement. It was a reaction not lost on the G.O.A.T.
"I'm just very humbled by everything," he said. "I guess I've been around a lot of people over the years because I had a lot of people reach out to me and in different variations and forms. I'm grateful for all the amazing relationships that I've had. What it means to me is I've impacted people's lives and certainly they've impacted mine, too. So whether those were teammates of mine or competitors of mine there was so much mutual respect. ... I've taken so much from the sport and I'm glad so many people enjoyed watching me play over the years. Believe me, I loved playing more than they loved watching me. So for as many people that loved watching me play, I enjoyed playing the game and being in there much more than people actually enjoyed watching me play."