NFL: Legendary q-back Tom Brady makes retirement U-turn, will return to Bucs

Tom Brady says he wants at least one more chance at a championship. PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI (AFP) - Seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady said Sunday (March 14) he has changed his mind about retirement and will return to the NFL next season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brady won six titles in 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, moved the Bucs in 2020 and led them to a championship.

But Tampa Bay lost to the eventual champion Los Angeles Rams in January in the playoffs and Brady announced his retirement last month.

Now superstar quarterback Brady, who turns 45 in August, says he wants at least one more chance at a championship.

"These past two months I have realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands," Brady said in a social media post.

"That time will come. But it's not now.

"I love my teammates and I love my supportive family. Without them, none of this is possible. I'm coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa.

"We have unfinished business."

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians texted a message to the NFL Network describing his feelings as "total excitement" over Brady's return.

The Buccaneers simply posted a video of Brady on Twitter with the message: "He's baaackkkk."

The move comes in time for the Buccaneers to adjust their free agency and NFL Draft plans to allow for the legendary signal caller to be back in uniform in the upcoming season and not a major vacancy to fill.

The retirement did not last long after taking days to become confirmed in the first place.

After days of speculation and reports that Brady was going to hang up his cleats for the last time, the husband of model Gisele Bundchen confirmed his retirement plans on Feb 1, saying then he no longer felt he could commit to American football.

"I have always believed the sport of football is an 'all-in' proposition - if a 100% competitive commitment isn't there, you won't succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game," Brady wrote last month in saying what proved to be a temporary farewell on social media.

"This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore.

"I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention."

But the player hailed as the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) has found what needs his attention the most is his desire to try and win another title with the Buccaneers.

Among the most excited people to hear about Brady's return was Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who had been the defender Brady victimised for his final career touchdown pass. Now other defensive backs could face that fate.

"THANK YOU," Ramsey tweeted, "throw that last touchdown on somebody else."

Brady, a five-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player and three-time NFL season MVP, already has a record 243 regular-season victories.

He will be rewriting the NFL record book every week.

Brady already owns NFL career passing records with 7,263 completions on 11,317 attempts for 84,520 yards and 624 touchdowns.

The record he wants to erase the most is the one he holds as the oldest player to play in and win a Super Bowl, a stage he graced on no fewer than 10 occasions.

His legacy includes a fightback victory in the 2017 Super Bowl when he led New England from a 25-point deficit to complete the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

Brady said last month he would recall his career as a "thrilling ride" and would "remember and cherish these memories and re-visit them often," saying he felt like "the luckiest person in the world."

For all the accolades Brady received from sports stars around the world, he actually took the advice of retired NBA icon Shaquille O'Neal, who tweeted last month that Brady should "Get your butt up and do one more year."

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