Tom Brady is a seven-time Super Bowl champion and the all-time passing yardage and touchdowns leader in the NFL.
He's also a husband and parent, in addition to those titles.
Thus, a day after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' season ended in a 30-27 Divisional Round loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Brady made it clear that his decision on whether or not to return for the 2022 season isn't solely about what he wants to do, but also about what's best for his family.
"I think as I've gotten older, I think the best part is, is football is extremely important in my life," Brady told Jim Gray on the Let's Go! podcast. "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 will take a step back and consider retirement, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, who reported it on Sunday. "Truthfully, gentlemen," Brady remarked after the Bucs' heartbreaking loss, "I'm thinking about this game and not thinking about anything past five minutes from now."
His comments on the show suggest he's spent a lot of time thinking about what's next.
He's also considered how much time and attention he needs to devote to his club and teammates.
"You know, every year I just have to make sure that I have the ability to commit to what the team really needs," Brady said. "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."
Brady, 44, is clearly not in a hurry to make a decision as he enters his 45th season or retirement after the most successful career in NFL history. In the end, his statements imply that he will take as much time as he needs to figure out what will make him and his family happy in the future.
"Playing football I get so much joy from. I love it. But not playing football, there's a lot of joy in that for me also now, too, with my kids getting older and seeing them develop and grow," Brady said. "So all these things need to be considered and they will be. And, you know, the funny part is always that most guys retire and then move to Florida. I'm already in Florida! So it's really confusing, even to me."
And for the rest of us, the offseason awaiting Brady's decision is underway.