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What we know about Tom Brady’s future amid reports about his retirement

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady passes against the Rams on Jan. 23.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady passes against the Rams on Jan. 23. Brady’s agent denied reports that the seven-time Super Bowl winner has decided to retire.
(Alex Menendez / Associated Press)
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The inevitable happened Saturday.

Or did it?

Citing unnamed sources, ESPN reported that Tom Brady was retiring after 22 seasons.

The Instagram account of the 44-year-old quarterback’s company posted, then deleted, what looked to be a career farewell.

But the coach and general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers said Brady had not told them anything of the sort, his agent indicated the report was premature, and the quarterback’s father called it conjecture and said his son had not made a decision on his future.

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Through it all, no word from Brady, who reportedly is traveling outside the country. The Buccaneers lost to the Rams last Sunday in a divisional playoff game.

The whirlwind of reports, rumors and tepid denials stood in stark contrast to the control and precision of Brady’s illustrious career, during which he won an unprecedented seven Super Bowl rings and earned the nickname GOAT, short for Greatest of All Time.

Is this stunning news?

No. Brady’s older than a lot of NFL coaches, and last season became the oldest person to play in — and win — a Super Bowl. He’s checked just about every box he can check.

Does it seem legitimate?

The ESPN reporters who broke it are reputable and connected. Still, these are human decisions that have yet to be formally announced, so Brady could make the report incorrect if he wanted to. So what’s right today doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right tomorrow.

What makes sense about the timing?

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Brady didn’t want the rocking-chair tour, no interest in a victory-lap season.

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What doesn’t make sense about the timing?

Odd that he hadn’t contacted Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians or general manager Jason Licht. Under normal circumstances, they would be among the first to know. Also, those close to him say he wouldn’t want to compete with the NFL playoffs.

Brady hasn’t said anything, so what do we have going on?

If his father and agent are saying he hasn’t made up his mind, that’s a pretty compelling denial. For the moment.

How could that have happened?

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Someone in Brady’s inner circle could have leaked it prematurely — or provided erroneous information. They obviously had the social media posts ready to go. On Saturday afternoon, his company, TB12sports congratulated him on Twitter with: “7 Super Bowl Rings. 5 Super Bowl MVPs. 3 League MVP Awards. 22 Incredible Seasons. Thank you for it all, @TomBrady”

Do you believe he’s retiring this offseason?

Yes. But on his terms and timing, and that formal announcement could come in hours, days or weeks.

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