Tom Brady to Retire After 22 Seasons in the NFL, Speculation Swirls Amid Reports

The Future Hall of Famer would walk away with five Super Bowl MVPs and three league MVPs.

Tom Brady has not made a formal announcement but there are multiple reports indicating the seven-time Super Bowl champion and five-time Super Bowl MVP will retire after 22 magnificent seasons in the NFL.

The 44-year-old quarterback will soon formally announce his retirement from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team he led to a Super Bowl LV victory last year against the Kansas City Chiefs. Brady's basing his decision to retire on several factors that included his family and health, this according to ESPN, which was first to break the news. The Boston Globe confirmed the reporting citing sources.

The Associated Press, however, has since reported, citing two people who spoke on condition of anonymity, that Brady called Bucs general manager Jason Licht to say he hasn't made a decision on his future plans.

Brady, drafted by the New England Patriots in the sixth round with the 199th overall selection in the 2000 NFL Draft, was a 15-time Pro Bowl selection, six-time All-Pro, and he leaves the NFL as its all-time passing TD leader (624) and all-time passing yards leader (85,520). For good measure, he also has the most career wins with 243.

ESPN also reported that Brady recognized the Bucs are likely to undergo a significant roster turnover, following their ouster by the Los Angeles Rams last weekend in a thrilling NFC divisional playoff game.

Brady, who got little attention from NFL scouts after graduating from Michigan, is heralded as the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Among his most impressive accolades includes commandeering the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, when he led the Patriots to a Super Bowl win in 2017 after trailing 28-7 with 2:12 left in the third quarter.

Leading up to the NFL playoffs this year, Brady had been vocal about not wanting a "farewell" tour, and speculation about his impending retirement grew louder after the Bucs were eliminated from the playoffs. ESPN reports that, at this time, it's unclear when Brady will formally announce his retirement, but that any plans to do so will consider not upstaging the NFC and AFC championship games slated for Sunday or Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

Brady's agent, Don Yee, released a statement to ESPN's Adam Schefter saying "without getting into the accuracy or inaccuracy of what's being reported, Tom will be the only person to express his plans with complete accuracy."

"He knows the realities of the football business and planning calendar as well as anybody, so that should be soon," the statement continued.

For what it's worth, Brady's verified TB12sports account tweeted, and then deleted, "7 Super Bowl Rings. 5 Super Bowl MVPs. 3 League MVP Awards. 22 Incredible Seasons. Thank you for it all, @TomBrady." For its part, the NFL has already changed its banner on Twitter, as it now features Brady. The league also tweeted a video tribute.

Earlier this week, ET's Kevin Frazier interviewed Rob Gronkowski for Gronk's Party Like a Player Groupon partnership, and the superstar tight end chimed in on whether he thought Brady would return for his 23rd season. Gronk, who has said he would opt for retirement if forced to make a decision "right now," said that decision's something Brady would have to look at closely.

"He's gotta make his own decision, you know, what's best for him and his family," Gronkowski told ET.

When asked about his future plans, Gronkowski said this past season really weighed on him physically.

"Personally, for myself, I gotta take some down time man," he said. "That season was long, let me tell you. That was like 25 weeks straight, six months straight of football just running into guys everyday, playing games every Sunday. So, right now, I'm just straight relaxing and chilling. I'm gonna let the process play out itself throughout the next couple of weeks."

Gronk added that he needs the break from football right now to "let my body heal" and let the decision about retirement "come naturally."

Whatever the case, Brady's next stop in football is all but official -- Canton, Ohio.