Tom Brady Jan 16, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates after they beat the Philadelphia Eagles in a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were eliminated from the NFL playoffs in a wild game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. And with Tampa Bay’s season over, the attention now goes to quarterback Tom Brady and his NFL future.

Brady — who turns 45 in August — spoke with Jim Gray on the Let’s Go! podcast on Monday, and addressed what will factor into his retirement decision.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion made it clear that his role as a father and husband will play a significant part in deciding whether to keep playing or not.

“I think as I’ve gotten older, I think the best part is, is football is extremely important in my life. And it means a lot to me. And I care a lot about what we’re trying to accomplish as a team. And I care a lot about my teammates. And the biggest difference now that I’m older is I have kids now too, you know, and I care about them a lot as well. They’ve been my biggest supporters. My wife is my biggest supporter. It pains her to see me get hit out there. And she deserves what she needs from me as a husband and my kids deserve what they need from me as a dad. And I’m gonna spend some time with them and give them what they need, ’cause they’ve really been giving me what I need the last six months to do what I love to do. I said this a few years ago, it’s what relationships are all about. It’s not always what I want. It’s what we want as a family. And I’m gonna spend a lot of time with them and figure out in the future what’s next.”

Brady added that the team “doesn’t deserve anything less than [his] best,” and that if he feels he can’t play at a “championship level,” then “you gotta give someone else a chance to play.”

“You know, every year I just have to make sure that I have the ability to commit to what the team really needs. And that’s really important to me. The team doesn’t deserve anything less than my best. And if I feel like I’m not committed to that, or I can’t play at a championship level, then you gotta give someone else a chance to play. And, you know, we’ll see. You know, again, there’s a long time between now and the start of next football season. I’ve gotta really figure those things out, which is probably natural for anyone.”

So, it certainly seems that retirement is a legitimate possibility this time around.

But, Brady is a (legendary) competitor, and he was still playing football at an elite level in the 2021 season. He led NFL passers in touchdowns (43) and yards (5,316), to go with a 102.1 passer rating (after 102.2 in his title-winning 2020 season).

Related: Rob Gronkowski honest about return next season

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

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