SEVEN-TIME Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady abruptly said he would end his brief retirement on Sunday, announcing his return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 23rd National Football League (NFL) season just six weeks after hanging up his cleats.
Brady, who had established himself as one of the greatest players in league history, stunned the sporting world with the unexpected about face.
“These past two months, I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands,” said Brady on his official Twitter account. “That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family.
“They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG.”
Shortly after Brady made his announcement the Buccaneers reacted with their own message on Twitter: “He’s baaackkkk,” the team said with a video of the quarterback taking the field.
The NFL echoed that sentiment, tweeting a photo of a smiling Brady with the caption “He’s back.”
Tampa head coach Bruce Arians said he was “ecstatic” about the development.
“As Tom said, his place right now is on the football field,” Arians said. “He is still playing at a championship level and was as productive as anyone in the league last season.”
Perhaps Brady was inspired to make a comeback after watching another sporting great, Cristiano Ronaldo, score a hat trick in Manchester United’s 3-2 Premier League win on Saturday over Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.
Brady walked onto the pitch to greet 37-year-old Ronaldo after the match, and a day later announced his return to the gridiron.
The 44-year-old Brady spent 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, winning six Super Bowls before moving to Tampa Bay and leading the Bucs to a championship in his first season with the team. — Reuters