Entertainment Sports Tom Brady Confirms That He's Retiring: 'The Future Is Exciting' Tom Brady confirmed that he'll leave professional football in a lengthy Instagram post By Lindsay Kimble Lindsay Kimble Lindsay Kimble is a Senior Digital News Editor and the Sports Editor for PEOPLE Digital. She's worked at PEOPLE for over seven years as a writer, reporter and editor across our Entertainment, Lifestyle and News teams, covering everything from the Super Bowl to the Met Gala. She's been nominated for the ASME NEXT Awards for Journalists Under 30, and previously wrote for Us Weekly while on staff at Wenner Media. People Editorial Guidelines Published on February 1, 2022 09:47 AM Share Tweet Pin Email It's official: Tom Brady's NFL career has come to an end. Days after reports first broke that the veteran quarterback is retiring, he confirmed it himself in a heartfelt and lengthy statement on social media. Alongside a photo of himself playing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady, 44, wrote, "I've done a lot of reflecting this past week and have asked myself difficult questions. And I am so proud of what we have achieved. My teammates, coaches, fellow competitors, and fans deserve 100% of me, but right now, it's best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes." "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 continued." He later added in his message — which thanked his teammates, coaches, and loved ones — "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." Tom Brady. Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Brady wrote, "The future is exciting" while admitting he doesn't know "exactly what my days will look like," and will "take it day by day" but wants to "enrich other people's lives." Part of his message specifically was written to his wife Gisele Bündchen, and his three children. "You are my inspiration," said Brady. "Our family is my greatest achievement. I always came off the field and home to the most loving and supportive wife who has done EVERYTHING for our family to allow me to focus on my career. Her selflessness allowed me to reach new heights professionally, and I am beyond words what you mean to me and our family." 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. Tom Brady Reportedly Retiring After 22 Seasons in NFL, Seven Super Bowl Championships Tuesday's big news comes after the Buccaneers lost in the divisional round of the playoffs last month. 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." Last week, Brady posted a reflective post on Instagram about his time with the Buccaneers. "I understand that at this stage in my career, there is going to be interest in my future whenever a season ends, but this week, all that is on my mind is the gratitude I have for this team and the fans that have supported us all year long," he wrote, in part. "This year has been incredibly rewarding personally and professionally and I am appreciative of everyone who worked their ass off to help our team achieve so much." Every Football Player Over 40 Who Made it To the Super Bowl In May 2021, Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht suggested Brady could play until age 50. But the quarterback pushed back with what he believed to be a more realistic timeline one month later in a phone interview with USA TODAY Sports. "I've always said 45 was the age that I wanted to reach and that was my goal," Brady told the outlet. "This year I'll be 44, so next year I'll be 45. I got a two-year contract. "I'm going to be able to obviously play this year and God forbid anything happens but play next year and then see what happens after that. If I still want to keep playing, I might be able to do that. And if that's enough, then that would be enough." Brady finishes his career a five-time Super Bowl MVP, and three-time league MVP. He's also the oldest player to be named Super Bowl MVP and win a Super Bowl as the starting quarterback, which he achieved at age 43.