"There are a lot of other people -- some players who don’t necessarily have to be all in for them. I guess I've seen that quite a bit over the years, but I kind of, I've always felt for me, that's how I had to do it. And my teammates know that I give 'em everything I can. My coaches know that. And it's certainly not that I can't do that. And it's certainly not that I can't play or continue to play, but I think there's an important choice for me to make, and I think the choice is, everything certainly comes at a cost, and the cost is what am I missing out on other aspects of my life?" Brady said of his decision to retire. "As you get older, you experience things that are outside of the sport that demand the level of attention and energy that football has always gotten. And it's time for me to commit to those types of things."
For Brady, the decision to step away from the game came at the right time, though he admits that he doesn't know where this big life change will take him or what it means for him going forward.
"A lot of things have come up over the years, in the last 10 years of my life, as I've got closer to this decision this last week, and it just, in the end, felt like it was just the right time to do it," he continued. "I think for anyone who loves the sport like I have over the years, it'll always be in my heart, as it should be, because I've committed a lot of time and energy and hours to it. But at the same time, there's a time and place for everything. I've had an amazing time and place doing it and I am really excited for what's ahead, and I don't know what that means or where it takes me, but I know that it'll be fun and exciting, and I'm gonna make the most of whatever opportunities present themselves as I go forward."
Brady went on to add that while he's given his all to football, he hasn't been able to take off the blinders he puts on every season and focus on the other important moments in his life that have happened in the midst or his monumental NFL career.
"I've been to the Kentucky Derby a lot. So, I look at those horses and they have the blinders on, and you literally are just running full speed as fast as you can for basically the entire season, and there's no time to look right or left. And there's a lot of things that are happening in your life that, because you don't look right or left, you're still looking straight ahead, that you miss some things," he explained. "There just comes a time for all of us where we gotta decide, you know, where we wanna look going forward. I can always look at the past and look at all the teams we've had and all the success and stuff and the amazing relationships and all the great teammates. I've seen so many great players retire over the years."
That being said, Brady acknowledged that the game goes on, whether or not he's a part of it.
"The game just goes on and it should. It's gonna outlast everybody. But I was fortunate to do it for a long time, for 22 years. I did it at the highest level, and I had the best teammates and mentors and coaches and friends," Brady said. "And, again, it’s just pretty simple, it's just there's time for other things, I need to make time for other things in my life. And it's exciting for me to be able to really enjoy some of those new moments as well."
As far as a return to the game, Brady said "never say never."
"I'm just gonna take things as they come. I think that's the best way to put it, and I don't think [with] anything you never say never. At the same time, I know that I feel very good about my decision. I don't know how I’ll feel six months from now, but I try to make the best possible decision I can in the moment, which I did this last week," he shared
While he said that he doesn't know what the future holds, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback said he isn't looking to backtrack either.
"And, again, I think it's not looking to reverse course, I'm definitely not looking to do that," Brady maintained. "But in the same time, I think you have to be realistic that you never know what challenges there are gonna be in life. Again, I loved playing. I'm looking forward to doing things other than playing.
"This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore," he wrote in part. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention."
Throughout his lengthy statement, the football star expressed his gratitude to his teammates, coaches, fans, family, friends, his children and longtime wife Gisele Bündchen.
"To my wife, Gisele, and my children Jack, Benny and Vivi," he wrote. "You are my inspiration. Our family is my greatest achievement. I always came off the field and home to the most loving and supportive wife who has done EVERYTHING for our family to allow me to focus on my career. Her selflessness allowed me to reach new heights professionally, and I am beyond words what you mean to me and our family. Te amo amor da minha vida."
He also looked back on his time with the New England Patriots who played with for 20 years before joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020.
"My playing career has been such a thrilling ride, and far beyond my imagination, and full of ups and downs. When you're in it every day, you really don’t think about any kind of ending. As I sit here now, however, I think of all the great players and coaches I was privileged to play with and against - the competition was fierce and deep, JUST HOW WE LIKE IT. But the friendships and relationships are just as fierce and deep. I will remember and cherish these memories and re-visit them often. I feel like the luckiest person in the world."