Brady finally closes the door on his career

by Gary Shelton on February 2, 2022

in general

Brady was the best quarterback ever./TIM WIRT

It must have felt this way when Shakespeare retired. Maybe Rembrandt. Maybe Galileo

Tom Brady, the best by-gum quarterback there ever was, has finally had enough of the NFL.

Even with the news expected, it's a jarring situation, because that was always the defining thing about Brady. He never got enough. Seven Super Bowls weren't enough. Two hundred and 76 victories (counting post-season) weren't enough. Seven hundred and 10 touchdown passes weren't enough. All hte money, all the celebrity, never seemed like enough for a man as driven as Brady.

And now he is gone, and there is nothing left but to stack the adjectives.

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He was the best, better than Johnny U and better than Joe Montana and better than Peyton Manning. Better than everyone. No wonder we all wanted more. How can you ever tire of greatness.

"He is, at least in my opinion – and I know the opinions of many, if not all – the greatest player in the history of the league," Bucs' general manger Jason Licht said Tuesday. "Just his dedication to winning, his dedication to preparation and his dedication to being a leader and caring for people and everybody that surrounds him is unmatched. Like I said, anything is an understatement. "

As Brady walks away, things automatically change for this organization. For two years, they have won when Brady played well. They built their team around him, and they depended on him for their will and their energy and their drive.

Without him, does Rob Gronkowski come back?

Does Chris Godwin re-sign?

Do the cannons rust over?

Granted, no one can resent Brady retiring, not here and not in New England. He fought the best fight any athlete ever did. It was unprecedented that Brady was one of the finest players in the league at age 44.

The bigger question is what the Bucs do without him. Do they trust it to their weak stable of holdovers? Do they try to sign another legend? Do they try to move up in the draft to take a kid they like? There is talent coming back, but you don't win often in this league without a quarterback.

"I have a lot of faith [and] I know Bruce [Arians] does, as well," Licht said. "I know our coaching staff, my staff and the entire building has a lot of faith in the players that we have on this team. We will continue to add. I think the experience they’ve had the last couple of years has made this team a lot better. There is no replacing – you are not going to find another Tom Brady, but you can find a good player and you can develop good players. "

It was important that over the last two years, ownership never flinched. Do they now? Do they fight to retain Godwin and Leonard Fournette and Ryan Jensen? Or do they collapse like the rest of the NFC South.

"We’ll have to go down every avenue," Licht said. "It’s a little bit of a different landscape than it was a couple of years ago with the quarterbacks that were available in free agency. We’ll have to go down every avenue. We’ll have to turn over every stone – I hate to use clichés like that, but we will. I think our roster is in better position than we were two years ago in terms of the young talent we have and the experience that they have at this point with what we have gone through the last couple of years. I’m excited about that.”

Tampa Bay didn't have him long enough. We'd love to see another season worth of touchdowns, and victories, and possibilities.

Until then, all a community can do is say thanks.

And wonder if he might make a comeback.

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