Athletes and Celebrities React to Tom Brady Confirming His Retirement: 'Absolute Joy to Watch'

Tom Brady is leaving the NFL after playing 22 seasons, and some of the sports world's biggest names are paying tribute

Tom Brady's storied NFL career has come to an end, and some of the sports world's biggest stars are paying tribute to the quarterback's 22 years of dominance.

Brady, 44, announced his retirement on Tuesday, coming after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost in the 2022 divisional playoffs, falling just short in his quest for an eighth Super Bowl ring. But Brady still leaves the league on top, with three-time NFL MVP honors to his name, among countless other records.

Said Brady in his Instagram post, "This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention."

He later added in his message (in which thanked his teammates, coaches, fans, and family), "My playing career has been such a thrilling ride, and far beyond my imagination, and full of ups and downs. … I will remember and cherish these memories and re-visit them often. I feel like the luckiest person in the world."

Brady wrote, "The future is exciting."

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Tom Brady. Taylor Hill/WireImage

Among the supportive comments on Brady's Instagram announcement was one from JJ Watt, who wrote, "Congratulations and enjoy the next chapter brother. Greatest of All Time. 🐐.

Joked Shaquille O'Neal, "No man get your butt up and do one more year," before adding, "Love u bro absolute joy to watch."

Commented basketball player Kevin Love, "Greatest Ever!!! 🐐." Said Buccaneers wide receiver Jaelon Darden, "Grateful To Have The Opportunity To Be Around You Definitely A Blessing Thank You For The Coaching 4 Ever The 🐐🙏🏾💯."

In his own comment, The Weeknd wrote, "the greatest ever 🙌🏾." Commented Dwayne Johnson, "Congratulations, my brother. What a historic career. Now go enjoy that next chapter w/ that same passion, zest & mana."

Said Olympian Michael Phelps, "Congrats bro! Enjoy the next chapter ❤️❤️ 🐐 🐐."

And echoed golfer Justin Thomas: "You're the best TB. Nobody better in so many facets of life! Appreciate you being an inspiration to so many 🙌

On Twitter, Tuesday, the Buccaneers thanked Brady and said he was "forever a part" of the team's "history."

Other stars, like fellow former quarterback Peyton Manning, also paid tribute.

Before the official news was even out, some of Brady's former teammates began to share praise for the athlete on social media. Wrote pal and longtime New England Patriots teammate Julian Edelman, "Thanks for the memories, babe."

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Brady was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2000, and spent the first 20 seasons of his career with the team, winning six Super Bowls. His final two seasons in the NFL were played with the Buccaneers, who Brady led to his seventh Super Bowl victory in 2021.

Tuesday's big news comes after the Buccaneers lost in the divisional round of the 2021-2022 season playoffs. After the loss, many questioned if Brady's retirement was imminent.

At the time, he demurred, saying he'd be taking it "day by day."

"Truthfully guys, I'm thinking about this game," he told reporters after the Buccaneers' loss to the Los Angeles Rams. "I'm not thinking about anything past five minutes from now."

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