A Brady comeback? You’ve got to be kidding

by Gary Shelton on February 9, 2022

in general

Brady still making headlines./TIM WIRT

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

The urge always returns. After a while out of the spotlight, a player misses the celebrity, the locker room, the money. After a while, they ache for the locker room, for the plane rides, for the applause. It's a sweet deal, being a former athlete. After a while, it's easy to miss the arena.

Usually, however, it doesn't happen in a week.

Have you read the headlines? Tom Brady -- the former Bucs' quarterbacck -- didn't slam the door loudly enough when asked about a comeback. Suddenly, there are reports flying through the internet that Brady is ready to come back already. Evidently, Brady had a very, very boring week.

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He's going to the 49ers, one report says. Maybe the Titans. Another story speculates he could go back to the Patriots. Maybe he hates Bruce Arians again. And so on.

Here is the first reaction you should have: Ha-ha-HA-HAA-HAAA. You should double over and slam down your fist in the table. This is how news travels across the internet. A guy says pretty much nothing, and an hour later, you can read that the bidding has begun.

You know what started all of this. Brady said "You never say never."


Now, this isn't exactly like saying "boy, I sure would like to play for the 49ers." Or "I sure miss Bill Belichick's scowl." He was asked on a podcast about retiring, and he said. "Never say never." He also. said "I'm not looking to reverse course," but no one wrote much about that.

Look, Brady has never said a lot, and still, writers parse every word. Brady has had more different headlines than he has passing touchdowns. Brady could say that "I don't particularly like croutons," and there would be 43 stories on it the next day. Know why there is such an internet interest in Brady? Without him, some sites have no clue what to write.

So the initial reaction is to laugh. Brady didn't say a word that suggests he wants more football.

Done laughing.

Now wonder this: What if Brady does get that itch.

It's a rare athlete who can walk away from the paydays of today. The old Dolphins' receiver, Nat Moore, once said that "you don't retire from the game; the game retires you." Look at the way Brett Favre left kicking and screaming.

So here are the serious qustions you might yet have to deal with. Would Brady bolting to another team ruin what he accomplished while he was in Tampa Bay? Should the Bucs surrender their rights to him in 2022? And if Tampa Bay did move him, what would be the proper return?

This is new territory, of course, because there has never been a quarterback who wanted to be traded at age 44 with seven Super Bowl titles. One article suggested the 49ers might offer the rights to Jimmy Garoppolo for him. How that sounds depends on how much you think of Garoppolo

The lessons here are plentiful. One: Don't trust an internet story unless it has substance in it (many do not). Don't treat an innocuous quote like a prediction from Nostradamus.

And two: When an athlete tells you he is retiring, believe him only after a season has passed.

Maybe two.

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