Tom Brady Mulls Eventual Retirement, Shuts Down Rumored Rift With Bill Belichick

The Patriots quarterback had promised to play football into his mid 40s if he could.

tom brady discusses retiring
Steven Senne / AP Images

The Patriots quarterback had promised to play football into his mid 40s if he could.

Tom Brady may be retiring soon. Or maybe not.

As The Guardian reports, the 41-year-old sat down with Oprah Winfrey to talk about the inevitable end of his career, a rumored feud with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, and national anthem protests, among other things.

Family Comes First

At 41, Brady is long past the point in life at which most NFL players have retired (indeed, there’s a joke in the football community that says “NFL” stands for “Not For Long”). However, considering that he’s won five Super Bowl rings and is almost certainly destined for the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, his longevity is not surprising.

In fact, Brady has said that he’d like to play into his mid-40s, which will be here sooner rather than later. However, football can be brutal, taking a toll on athletes’ brains that is, as yet, not fully understood. And Brady is clear that wife Gisele Bundchen wants him to be able to enjoy his later years with his kids.

“I do have kids that I love, and I don’t want to be a dad that’s not there driving my kids to their games… You better be there and be available to them.”

And though he’s not retiring any time soon – at least, not until after this season – it’s definitely on his radar.

“I think about it more now than I used to. I think I’m seeing that there’s definitely an end coming, sooner rather than later.”

On National Anthem Protests

Brady’s politics are hard to pin down. He’s been the guest of honor at a State of the Union speech by George W. Bush, and a “Make America Great Again” hat has been spotted in his locker. However, on the advice of Giselle, he’s declined to discuss politics any more – and he’s skipped the traditional post-championship visit at White Houses occupied by both a Democrat and a Republican.

But when it comes to the most hot-button political issue facing the NFL right now – national anthem protests – Brady can at least see where his colleagues who take a knee are coming from.

“I’ve been playing sports long enough [to know] everyone comes from something different, and I think showing respect for everybody, in a locker room, with a team of guys trying to go in the same direction – you better have that empathy for everybody. That’s what sports are about.”

And On That Supposed Rift With Bill Belichick

Back in January, ESPN reported on a supposed quarrel between Brady and his boss, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Brady admits that the two don’t always see eye to eye, which is probably true of every coach and athlete who has ever played any sport. But he also said he “loves” Belichick and called him a “mentor.”