After less than six weeks of retirement, it appears that Tom Brady is back.
Brady, the 44-year-old quarterback who has won the Super Bowl seven times, wrote on Twitter Sunday evening that he would return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to play his 23rd N.F.L. season.
“These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands,” Brady wrote.
Brady announced his retirement in early February, saying he didn’t have the competitive fire to continue. But in the days since, he has made a number of ambiguous comments about his future. On Saturday, he attended a soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. United is owned by the Glazer family, who also own the Buccaneers. The United star Cristiano Ronaldo was seen in a video asking Brady, “You’re finished, right?”
It wasn’t clear from the video how Brady responded to Ronaldo, but his post to Twitter on Sunday seemed to be a resounding “no.”
The Buccaneers and Brady’s agent, Don Yee, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Buccaneers have left open the possibility that Brady could return all along. After their playoff exit in January, Coach Bruce Arians made it clear that any decision about retirement belonged to Brady, but that the team wanted him back. “Whenever Tom wants to come back, he’s back,” Arians said at the scouting combine in March. “If Tom wants to come back, we’ll have plenty of money for him.”
Brady’s quick reversal puts the Buccaneers in a much better position when the league year begins on Wednesday, and the free agency period begins. The Buccaneers will not have to search for a new starting quarterback, and they will be able to tell their own free agents — including key contributors like Rob Gronkowski and Ndamukong Suh — as well as other potential signings that the team will still be helmed by one of the league’s best quarterbacks.