The weekend before Tom Brady officially retired, speculation about his exit from football hit a crescendo with conflicting and vague reports about his plans, prompting his team to say it had not been informed of an exit and his agent and father to assert that no decision had been made.
Brady himself softened the idea of an imminent decision as recently as Monday night, saying on his “Let’s Go!” podcast with Jim Gray that he was still going through the process of making a decision. “When the time’s right, I’ll be ready to make a decision, one way or another,” he said.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington first reported that Brady would be retiring around 2:30 pm Eastern time on Saturday, citing “multiple sources.” Brady’s lifestyle brand, TB12, appeared to confirm the news on Twitter minutes later, but subsequently deleted its post that reminisced about his career.
At the time of the news breaking, a representative from the Buccaneers said he was unable to confirm Brady’s retirement. Bruce Arians, the team’s head coach, told the Tampa Bay Times that Brady had not informed the organization of his plans to retire. And a league spokesman, Brian McCarthy, said the NFL had not been officially informed of the retirement, even though the news was splashed on the front of NFL.com and heavily covered by the league’s social media accounts.
Brady’s agent, Don Yee, said that Brady himself would be “the only person to express his plans with complete accuracy.” Yee added: “He knows the realities of the football business and planning calendar as well as anybody, so that should be soon.”
Yee’s statement attempted to pause the commotion, and potentially allow Brady to announce his future plans on his own terms, but the news cycle was already churning. At 4 pm Eastern time, Mike Silver reported for Bally Sports that Brady had contacted Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht to tell him he had not made a final decision on retirement. Bay Area news station KRON followed with a report citing Brady’s father, Tom Brady Sr., as saying that his son is not retiring.
ESPN said in a statement that it stood by the reporting of Schefter and Darlington, and Schefter reiterated that position on-air later in the evening during an appearance on the network during halftime of a college basketball game.