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Heading into this offseason, no one knew what quarterback Tom Brady would do next. As a pending free agent, would he leave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, stay with the team or announce his retirement? On Wednesday, we got our answer: Brady is retiring.

Despite being linked to multiple teams as a potential landing spot, including the San Francisco 49ers, Las Vegas Raiders and Miami Dolphins, it was always Bucs or bust for Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl champion was only considering staying in Tampa or hanging up his cleats "for good," according to Jeff Darlington.

Darlington described Brady as "exhausted" from a storied career and the events that transpired in the last six months, mentioning the quarterback's divorce from supermodel Gisele Bundchen. Brady wants to "recharge," "rebuild" and "move on with his life." This retirement is expected to stick, unlike the announcement he made Feb. 1, 2022, which only lasted 40 days. 

"At 45 years old he is exhausted by a long and storied football career, but he is also exhausted by the last six months of his life. He is still going through those motions," Darlington said. "Let's not forget that it was during a football season, a time in which he is ultimately so focused on the game that he also endured the heartbreak of a divorce. So now he wants to recharge, he wants to rebuild and he wants to kind of move on with his life. So I think that from the standpoint of both the long term and the short term, Brady absolutely recognizes that he is done. As one person put it, 'done done."'  

The way the Bucs played this past season, along with the many potential destinations around the league that made sense this offseason for the Brady, made it plausible he would find somewhere else to play. Tampa Bay went 8-9 in 2022, making it to the playoffs thanks to its easy division, and lost 31-14 to the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round.

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In the past, Brady has brought up leaving the NFL, saying, "When I suck, I'll retire" and saying he wants to play until he is 45. Well, the 45-year-old predicted one thing correctly. Yet even in a year filled with more struggles than he's typically dealt with, he still didn't exactly "stink." He had the first losing season of his career, but still managed to end up third in passing yards with 4,694 and had the sixth-most touchdown passes with 25.