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Tom Brady set to retire from NFL after 22 seasons and seven Super Bowl wins

Tom Brady set to call time on his playing career after 22 seasons; Brady won seven Super Bowls, more than any one team has; 44-year-old also a three-time NFL MVP, five-time Super Bowl MVP and 15-time Pro Bowler

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Sky Sports News reflect on how the drama surrounding Tom Brady's 'retirement' unfolded.

Seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady is reportedly retiring from the NFL after 22 seasons.

Brady's agent Don Yee has refused to confirm or deny Brady is retiring and says the quarterback will make an official announcement soon.

"I understand the advance speculation about Tom's future," said Yee. "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. He knows the realities of the football business and planning calendar as well as anybody, so that should be soon."

Brady's management company had posted news of his retirement online, tweeting '7 Super Bowl Rings, 5 Super Bowl MVPs, 3 League MVP Awards, 22 Incredible Seasons, Thank you for it all Tom Brady'. They later deleted the tweet, while the NFL announced his retirement along with tributes for the 44-year-old.

'Issue of timing'

NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport said pushback was based on timing as opposed to the decision to retire itself, noting that Brady does intend to retire according to 'several people close to him'.

"My understanding, confirming the initial report, is that Tom Brady does plan to retire," Rapoport said.

"I've spoken to several people close to him who believe he has played his last down of football. This sounds to me, taking all things together, to be an issue of timing more than anything - Brady is very in charge and in control of his brands, he generally has fantastically well-produced announcements.

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"This is not all buttoned up yet but my understanding is the plan is, in fact, for Tom Brady to retire."

Brady's retirement would bring an end to an extraordinary career across in which he won more Super Bowls than any one team has in NFL history, as well as being a three-time NFL MVP, five-time Super Bowl MVP, a 15-time Pro Bowler, two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year and a member of the past two All-Decade teams and the NFL's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Brady, who was selected 199th overall by the Patriots at the 2000 NFL Draft, had previously expressed his desire to play in the NFL at the age of 45, but cast doubt over his future after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Divisional Round playoff defeat to the Los Angeles Rams.

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Highlights of the Los Angeles Rams' clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Divisional playoffs in what could be Tom Brady's final NFL game

The 44-year-old explained that his decision would be primarily based on what was best for his family, having previously outlined his desire to spend more time with his wife and children.

"It's not always what I want. It's what we want as a family," he said at the time. "And I'm going to spend a lot of time with them and figure out in the future what's next."

He will depart widely-considered the greatest to play the sport, having claimed records for all-time completions (7,263), passing yards (84,520), passing touchdowns (624), starts (316), Pro Bowl selections and Super Bowl MVPs while never registering a losing season across his time with the Patriots and Bucs.

Brady is coming off one of the most productive seasons in his NFL career after throwing a league-high 5.316 passing yards alongside 43 touchdowns.

Such was his success in the latter stages of his career, Brady threw more touchdown passes in his 40s (168) than he did during his 20s (147).

"He's the greatest competitor that ever played American football and the greatest quarterback," Baltimore Ravens inside linebackers coach and Sky Sports NFL pundit Rob Ryan told Sky Sports News. "All good things must come to an end and I'm sure he discussed it at length with his family.

"When you see the hits, these guys hit with incredible force, right now it's a perfect time, he's got absolutely nothing to prove, he's won seven Super Bowls, a record that's never going to be beaten. He's the greatest to play the sport.

"He's the greatest competitor I've ever been around and I was fortunate enough and blessed to be with him for five years there in New England."

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The NFL Network team react to reports of Tom Brady's decision to retire from the NFL after 22 seasons

Six of his seven Super Bowls came in New England alongside iconic head coach Bill Belichick as part of one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history.

Brady took over from Drew Bledsoe as starter in 2001, leading the Patriots to three Super Bowl triumphs before losing twice to the New York Giants at the end of the 2007 and 2011 campaigns.

His fourth ring came after the 2014 season when the Patriots broke Seattle Seahawks hearts after Malcolm Butler's game-winning interception at the goalline. He added another two years later as the Patriots famously overturned a 28-3 third-quarter deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime, before reaching the big dance again the following season only to be beaten by the Philadelphia Eagles, who were led by backup quarterback.

Brady then collected his sixth ring after the Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams to cap the 2018 season.

Having parted with the Patriots after 20 years in 2020, Brady joined the Buccaneers where he would go on to win the Super Bowl in his first season thanks to victory over the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium.

'Brady deserves to control the narrative'

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NFL expert Jeff Reinebold says it's unfortunate that reports of Tom Brady's imminent retirement have appeared before an official annoucement.

Sky Sports NFL expert Jeff Reinebold:

"This is when I first thought this was really serious. He made a comment about how much he looked forward to Monday morning after (they lost to the Rams) to be able to sit down with his children and eat waffles at breakfast, because that wasn't in his routine as a player.

"I don't (think there's any doubt he's retiring), but I also respect the fact he deserves to control the narrative and that's always been important to him, but even more so now. He deserves to be the one to say 'what next' and what he's going to do and his plans.

"I think out of respect for him we all ought to back off a bit and give him that space, because we've been blessed for 22 years to watch the greatest that ever player the game."

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Rob Ryan says he would like to hear confirmation from Tom Brady himself, following reports that the seven-time Super Bowl winner is set to retire.

Former Patriots linebackers coach Rob Ryan:

"For this story to jump out and beat him to the podium, there was a lot of speculation it would happen, we just saw Sean Payton walk away from the Saints in a similar thing but he actually got to announce it himself, that's how it usually goes so I'm sure Tom is a little upset about this.

"The bottom line is, he knows the exact reasons that he's going to do it, we know he's a family man, we know you can only take so many hits playing that position, he's in great health, he's in great shape and I think it's great timing for him.

"Until you hear it from him himself, I wouldn't trust anything out there. There's been a ton of speculation on a lot of things in the NFL that turn out not to be true. I believe it's happening, of course I do, but it would be great to hear it from himself."

'We may never see anything like him again'

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Sky Sports News' Jamie Weir reflects on Tom Brady's incredible career, following reports of his decision to retire

Sky Sports News' reporter Jamie Weir:

"It has been incredible. The NFL's all-time passing yard leader with 85,520 yards. Most career wins with 243, and 624 passing touchdowns.

"He's won more Super Bowls than any team in the history of the NFL. That says it all.

"It has been an extraordinary 22 years. Picturing the NFL next year without him will be strange.

"People thought he would go on forever and ever. He has been the greatest NFL player of over two decades. What he's done has been extraordinary, and he's done it all while being a great ambassador for the sport, too.

"He's been the ultimate professional, and we'll probably never see anything like him ever again."

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