Tom Brady Reacts to His Short-Lived Retirement and Returning to Football (Exclusive)

The seven-time Super Bowl champion is returning for his 23rd season in the NFL.

Tom Brady doesn't take himself so seriously these days. Like when his retirement from the NFL lasted all of 39 days, he didn't scoff at the memes or beat himself up over the late-night jokes. Instead, the seven-time Super Bow champion one-upped them all, with a little help from Hertz.

The five-time Super Bowl MVP spoke with ET's Kevin Frazier about why the NFL great's partnership with Hertz was his way of bringing some levity to a serious career decision. For those wondering, yes, Brady was involved in the car rental's hilarious commercials that poke fun at his short-lived retirement.

"We've tried to bring some humor to it," Brady explains. "I've been very conscious to try to bring some lightness to the seriousness of our world these days."

In one of the more recent commercials, Brady is trying his hand at post-retirement career option No. 9 -- director of a commercial. He yells cut and tells one of the actors, "So, you've been working at the same job for like 22 years, right? You're just not feeling it anymore. So you retire. And that’s when it hits you: Maybe all you needed was a vacation." He then repeatedly shouts, "I'm not leaving!"

It turns out, Brady wasn't in need of a vacation when reports initially surfaced he was set to retire. 

"It was a little more than that," Brady said. "But at the same time I took some time away, which is always important. It's tough to make a decision right at the end of the season. It's a big commitment to make for football, and it's not just something you can decide. I needed time. And I just figured I'm going to go at it again and just see what we can accomplish."

Less than two months after announcing his retirement, Brady un-retired and said, in part, that he "realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands." He signed off that tweet with "LFG," the acronym for "Let's F**king Go," another one Brady's longtime phrases implemented in the Hertz campaign commercials.

Brady is cognizant of the fact that he's more recently come out of his shell. He's the face and voice behind his popular podcast. He's the architect behind 199 Productions, a nod to being the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft. That production company is behind the football comedy 80 for Brady. So, why is the 44-year-old star athlete seemingly more forthcoming?

"Well, I think I may just be more comfortable with myself," he explains. "I feel like I've just tried to get more comfortable with things that are off the field. A lot that's gone on in my life, a lot that's changed. I think embracing the changes has been really important for me over the years, so I'm excited about what's ahead."

Brady was recently featured in his wife, Gisele Bundchen's, Instagram Story wearing nothing but his Brady Brand boxer briefs, just another example of how Brady is injecting humor to every situation.

"Hey, somebody's brand new underwear!" Bundchen can be heard calling out to her husband while he's in the bathroom. "What is this? Let me see. Let me see your underwear," she continues. "Is that Brady Brand underwear?"

Brady gushed when the underwear topic was brought up, and he couldn't help but gush even more over his wife when asked if she was the brains behind the idea.

"She's amazing at her job. She is the GOAT and she's an amazing model, mother, environmentalist, director, producer, all the things," Brady said. "It was just a fun moment. I'm glad it turned out the way it did. We had some fun with it, so I was glad it was her catching me in my underwear and not anybody else."

Last week, a fan that can only be described as a hardcore Brady fanatic tweeted at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers star and asked, "Tom if this reply gets 40,000 likes will you fly me out and hand deliver me a pair of game worn underwear?" Brady responded, "What’s wrong with you people? Check your DMs and pick a color Greg." That fan wound up getting more than 87,000 likes.

"Yes, I challenged him to 40,000 likes and he got like 60,000 or something," Brady quipped, confirming he will be sending that fan a pair of boxer briefs. 

Now that Brady's a quasi-underwear model, he's hoping the video his wife shot of him in his underwear replaces the dreaded photo of a lanky Brady at the 2000 NFL Draft Combine in boxers. In fact, he'd like a before-and-after shot so people can see the progress he's made since he was drafted 199th overall out of Michigan.

"Yes, exactly. That's what I want: before and after," quipped Brady who also wondered, "Why is there no one else's picture they show [like that?] Where's Peyton Manning's picture of that? That's what I want to see. Bring his picture up, not just mine!"

Brady has improved his physique exponentially. He credits chin-ups, push-ups, hydration and a healthy diet.

"I know it wasn't my best [photo]," Brady continues, "but that's OK. [I've] moved on."

In more ways than one.



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