TAMPA, Fla. — Tom Brady announced his retirement Tuesday on Instagram, capping off 22 seasons with the NFL and an unrivaled seven Super Bowl wins.
Brady leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers having led the team to a Super Bowl title last season and an NFC South championship this season. The 44-year-old seemingly could have continued his career, with him hitting a career-high 5,316 passing yards and leading the NFL in touchdown passes with 43.
Leading his lengthy Instagram post with a photo, Brady began, in part: "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."
"I have always believed the sport of football is an 'all-in' proposition — if a 100% 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 maximize 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.
"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, but right now, it's best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes.
"To my Bucs teammates the past two years, I love you guys, and I have loved going to battle with you. You have dug so deep to challenge yourself, and it inspired me to wake up every day and give you my best. I am always here for you guys and want to see you continue to push yourselves to be your best. I couldn't be happier with what we accomplished together.
"To all the Bucs fans, thank you. I didn't know what to expect when I arrived here, but your support and embrace have enriched my life and that of my family. I have been honored to play for such a passionate and fun fan base. What a Krewe!!!
"To the city of Tampa and the entire Tampa-St. Petersburg region, thank you. It has been wonderful to be a resident of such a fun place to live. I want to be invited to our next boat parade!
"To the Glazer family, thank you for taking a chance on me and supporting me. I know I was demanding at times, but you provided everything we needed to win, and your ownership was everything a player could ask for.
"To Jason Licht, thank you for your daily support and friendship — I will never forget it. I had never been through free agency, and I had some trepidation about how we could achieve success. Your leadership gave me confidence, and I will always be grateful.
"To my head coach Bruce Arians, thanks for putting up with me! Your firm leadership and guidance were ideal. There is no way we could have had success without your experience, intuition, and wisdom. I am very grateful.
"To all the Bucs coaches, my sincere thanks for all the hard work, dedication, and discipline that goes into creating a winning team. I have learned so much from all of you and will value the relationships we have.
"To every single Bucs staffer and employee, thank you. Each of you is critically important, and I was greeted with a smile every day. That means so much to me. Your work is made up of long hours and hard tasks, but please know I see each and every one of you. Thank you so much.
"To Alex Guerrero, thank you. I could never have made every Sunday without you; it's that simple. Your dedication to your craft and our friendship and brotherhood are immeasurable. We have an unbreakable bond, and I love you.
"To Don Yee and Steve Dubin, thank you. You've been with me every step of the way since I left the University of Michigan and before I entered the league. What a journey it's been, and I couldn't do it without you.
"To my parents and entire family (and extended family of countless friends), I love you and thank you for your never-ending support and love. I could never have imagined the time and energy you have given for me the past 30 years in football. I can never repay you. And just know I love you so much.
"And lastly to my wife, Gisele, and my children Jack, Benny, and Vivi. You are my inspiration. 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 meant to me and our family. Te amo amor da minha vida ❤️
"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.
"The future is exciting. I'm fortunate to have cofounded incredible companies like @autograph.io @bradybrand @tb12sports that I am excited to continue to help build and grow, but exactly what my days will look like will be a work-in-progress. As I said earlier, I am going to take it day by day. I know for sure I want to spend a lot of time giving to others and trying to enrich other people's lives, just as so many have done for me.
"With much love, appreciation, and gratitude, Tom"