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NFL: Brady exits as a true legend of the game

Tom Brady has called time on arguably the greatest career in NFL history, bowing out after 22 years at the pinnacle of the sport.

Speculation had been gathering pace over the weekend that Brady was set to retire and after initially denying he had made a decision, the 44-year-old quarterback has now confirmed he will not be returning next season.

What Brady said

Given he is in his 45th year, there was always going to be talk regarding Brady's future as soon as his Tampa Bay Buccaneers team were beaten in the Divisional Playoffs by the Super Bowl-bound Los Angeles Rams, who are 1/2 on the Money Line to beat the 17/10 Cincinnati Bengals.

Just last weekend there were reports, even from Brady's own company TB12sports, that he was retiring, while others, including his agent Don Yee, were non comital regarding his future.

Brady himself told the Let's Go! podcast on Monday that he was still considering his next move, but less than 24 hours later he has now announced his retirement.

"I have always believed that the sport of football is an 'all-in' proposition - if a 100 per cent competitive commitment isn't there, you won't succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game," Brady said in a statement.

"There is a physical, mental, and emotional challenge EVERY single day that has allowed me to maximise my highest potential. And I have tried my very best these past 22 years. There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life.

"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."

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The greatest of all-time?

The numbers do not lie, Brady must be regarded as one of, if not the greatest player of all-time, with the quarterback having claimed seven Super Bowls during his career - which is more than any one team has ever won in NFL history.

Six of those successes came during a 20-year stint with the New England Patriots, while he added another ring just last year when he led the Bucs to Super Bowl glory - the first team to do so on home field.

Among his other list of achievements, Brady has been a three-time NFL MVP, five-time Super Bowl MVP, a 15-time Pro Bowler, two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year and a member of the past two All-Decade teams, while also being included in the NFL's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

The legendary QB also holds the record for all-time completions (7,263), passing yards (84,520) and passing touchdowns (624), while he never registered a losing season with the Pats or Bucs throughout his time in the NFL.

Brady going out on a high

At 44, most players have long since retired from the rigours of the NFL, but for Brady his 22nd season at the top was arguably one of his most productive, certainly in terms of numbers.

The California-born star threw a league-high 5.316 passing yards, as well as 43 touchdowns, while he actually produced more touchdown passes in his 40s (168) than he did in his 20s (147).

Brady has certainly enjoyed an illustrious career in the NFL that is unlikely to be replicated anytime soon, not bad for a player who was picked 199th overall out of Michigan by the Patriots during the 2000 NFL Draft.

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