Tom Brady keeps stealing the NFL spotlight, even if he isn’t trying. The former Buccaneers and Patriots quarterback, who announced his retirement in February after an illustrious 21-year career, has been a steady subject of speculation, repeatedly leaving the door open for a future comeback. That trend continued Sunday, after video surfaced of Brady appearing hesitant when asked by Manchester United soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo if he is actually done playing.
Brady, 44, attended Manchester United’s match against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, offering support for the team owned by the Glazer family, which also happens to own the Buccaneers. Afterward, however, the seven-time Super Bowl champion posted Instagram video of himself visiting with Ronaldo on the turf, while fans sought autographs with the soccer star. In it, Ronaldo can first be heard saying, “All good?” To which Brady responds, “Doing great.” Then Ronaldo asks, “You’re finished, right?” And Brady winces while smiling, before replying again. His words aren’t definitively clear, but he appears to mouth, “Probably.”
In truth, it’s not so different from the way Brady has responded to other inquiries about his future this offseason. The star QB has used multiple appearances on his own “Let’s Go!” podcast to address speculation, reiterating that he’s content with his decision to retire but also reiterating he doesn’t know what lies ahead. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians told reporters at the scouting combine that Brady “slammed” the door on a potential 2022 comeback when the two last spoke, but Bucs general manager Jason Licht took a more hopeful stance, noting that Tampa Bay would eagerly welcome him back.
Technically, Brady remains on the Bucs’ official roster, although the team is expected to move him to the reserve/retired list after June 1, as a means of saving salary cap space. That is, unless Brady actually comes back by then.