On the day of Super Bowl LV, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians laughed off a report that he was considering retirement. With mounting chatter that Bucs quarterback Tom Brady could retire after the current season ends, Arians isn’t laughing it off.
He’s confident Brady will return, but he’s not laughing it off.
“The way he was at practice [Friday], I would be shocked if he didn’t [play next year],” Arians told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “You know they have that Friday quarterback challenge, and he came flying out of the locker room, sprinting two or three fields away and couldn’t wait to get into the challenge. He was like a little kid. I would be shocked.”
Of course, Brady’s exuberance could be interpreted another way. Maybe he was embracing the moment since it possibly was his last ever Friday practice?
The notion of a surprise retirement has generated a curious amount of steam in recent days. Former teammate Rob Ninkovich planted a flag regarding the possibility during a Wednesday appearance ESPN. Ninkovich couched it as speculation; sometimes when people know things but they aren’t allowed to say what they know, they couch it as speculation. As their idea.
On Thursday, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich didn’t deny the possibility when asked about Ninkovich’s remark.
As one source with knowledge of Brady’s circumstances — but with no knowledge as to his thinking on the question of a potential surprise retirement after the current playoff run — explains it, Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, has wanted him to stop playing since Super Bowl LI, “and she is tough.”
Peter King and I kicked around the possibility of a Brady retirement during Friday’s PFT Live. Although he played at a ridiculously high level at the age of 44, he’s missing more and more of his family’s growth and activities and development. No NFL player has ever stretched the rubber band this far; no NFL player has ever had himself and his family so focused on his football career for so long, while the family continues to take a back seat.
After the Bucs won Super Bowl LV, Bundchen once again played the “what more do you have to prove?” card in an effort to get Brady to retire. Said Brady as to his response: “I was trying to figure out a way to change the subject really quick. I think I moved onto something else pretty quickly.”
If they win another Super Bowl, she’ll surely break out her argument again.
So, yes, there’s just enough smoke floating around on this one to justify keeping an eye on the possibility that Brady’s vow to keep going isn’t among the 10 percent of things about which he’s outwardly honest.