It took nearly three months, but Tom Brady has finally revealed what was going through his head when he decided to retire earlier this year, only to unretire less than six weeks later.
The Buccaneers quarterback, who retired Feb. 1 only to unretire just 40 days later, hadn't done any public interviews since announcing his return, but that changed Thursday when he took part in "The Match."
In TNT's annual golfing event, Brady teamed up with Aaron Rodgers to top Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen in a dramatic 12-hole golf match. (You can read the recap of "The Match" by clicking here.)
After Brady's team secured the win on a 15-foot putt by Rodgers, the four quarterbacks sat down with TNT's Ernie Johnson to answer a few questions. During the interview, Johnson asked Brady if he had actually been ready to retire when he made the surprising announcement Feb. 1 that he was done with football.
"At this stage, it's like 55% yes and 45% no. It's not 100-0. That's just the reality," Brady said, via ESPN.com. "It's not that I'm not 100% committed. It's just as soon as I make the commitment to do it, it's like 'Ugh. All right, here we go.' It's like running a marathon. You can't decide two weeks before the marathon, 'Hey, I'm going to start running.'"
Basically, it sounds like Brady was truly on the fence about playing, but with someone like Brady, it seems like there's a good chance he'll keep playing until that 55% "yes, I should keep playing," goes down to zero percent.
As for the timing of his return, Brady knew that if he was going to play in 2022, he couldn't take until July to figure things out because the Buccaneers needed to know his plans before that.
"We got right to free agency and I felt some pressure to do it and talked to the team and organization, and it all worked out," Brady said.
Brady also said he was "partly" ready to retire because of all the responsibilities he has off the field.
"Partly, you know, yes," Brady said of whether he was truly ready to retire. "And I think when you're their age [Mahomes and Allen], if you were to ask me, 'Are you going to play football next year?' I would say there's a 100% chance I'm playing. And I think as I've gotten older, that's changed because I have other responsibilities. So the responsibilities are many people taking care of me and things that I have off the field that are really important to me like my family, my kids, my wife's done an amazing job of that. That's a big commitment from her, so it's harder when you get older. I don't even think they know what's coming. Aaron [Rodgers] knows these things because your life gets bigger as we all do, our life gets more full -- there's more responsibilities."
Now that Brady is returning for the 2022 season, the big question is whether he'll keep playing in 2023. On one hand, no one will be surprised if he retires now that we know he was 45% leaning that way this offseason. On the other hand, Brady's contract with the Buccaneers will be expiring following the 2022 season, which means he'll be free to sign with anyone in 2023, and that freedom might be enough to entice him to come back for at least one more season.
Of course, if he does choose to retire, he's got a cushy 10-year, $375 million job waiting for him, so that might be enough to push him into retirement.