Tom Brady, who is widely considered the greatest quarterback in NFL history, is set to retire after 22 seasons and a record seven Super Bowl victories, ESPN reported on Saturday, citing sources.
However, the Associated Press, citing their own sources, indicated that may not be true just yet, as the quarterback “hasn’t made up his mind” on his future.
The 44-year-old spent 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, winning six Super Bowls, before relocating to Tampa Bay and leading the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl championship last season.
The New York Giants got the best of Brady twice in two other Super Bowls. Big Blue stopped Brady and the then-undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl LII, then upset them again four years later in Super Bowl LVI.
The decision comes as something of a surprise after Brady led the league in touchdown passes and passing yards this season and could still potentially win his fourth league MVP trophy.
The Buccaneers tried to convince him to come back for another season but he chose to prioritize his family and his health, ESPN reported.
In a podcast recorded after Tampa Bay were eliminated from the playoffs by the Los Angeles Rams last weekend, Brady said he was “satisfied” with his career.
“I said this a few years ago, it’s what relationships are all about,” Brady 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 is the father of three and he and wife Gisele Bundchen have been building a house together near Miami.
“I’ll know when I know,” Brady said during the podcast. “I think for all of us, you know, we can all decompress a bit. It’s been six straight months of football. Every day consumed by day in and day out football. And I think now it’s just some time to spend some time with my family and spend some time with my kids.”
Brady’s company TB12 celebrated him in a tweet listing his accomplishments.
“Thank you for it all,” the tweet said.
It is unclear when he will make a formal announcement as he does not want to upstage Sunday’s conference championship games or the Feb. 13 Super Bowl, ESPN reported.
“I understand the advance speculation about Tom’s future,” Brady’s agent Don Yee told ESPN.
“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.”
The Northern California native, who was selected with the 199th pick of the 2000 NFL draft, is the league’s all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns and quarterback wins.
He appeared in a record 10 Super Bowls, winning the game’s MVP award five times, and his 15 Pro Bowl selections is the most in league history.