‘I’m coming back’: Tom Brady announces return to Bucs for 23rd NFL season

Citing “unfinished business” quarterback Tom Brady announced Sunday his return to the NFL after a brief retirement.

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“These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come. But it’s not now,” Brady wrote on Twitter. “I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG.”

Brady’s announcement came on the same day that the football he used to throw what was assumed to be the final touchdown pass of his 22-year career sold for more than $518,000 at an auction that ended Saturday.

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The about-face comes roughly six weeks after the legendary quarterback announced his retirement.

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In a statement issued Sunday evening and obtained by ESPN, Bucs general manager Jason Licht said Brady’s announcement was something the team had been preparing for in recent days.

“[Head coach Bruce Arians] and I have had plenty of conversations with Tom recently that led us to believe there was a realistic chance he would want to come back,” Licht said. “Tom is the greatest quarterback of all time who is still playing at an elite level. With this decision now made, we will continue to move forward with our offseason plans to reload this roster for another championship run.”

Meanwhile, Arians said in a prepared statement that he is “ecstatic” that Brady decided to return for another season, ESPN reported.

“Tom Brady loves to play football as much as anyone I have ever been around,” Arians said. “As Tom said, his place right now is on the football field.”

Brady threw for an NFL-record 84,250 yards and 624 touchdowns during his career. He spent his first 20 seasons with the Patriots, where he won Super Bowl titles after the 2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016 and 2018 seasons.

Brady appeared in a record 10 Super Bowls, winning seven times. He led the Patriots to a perfect regular season in 2007, making the Patriots the second NFL team to finish a regular season with an unbeaten and untied record.

Brady led the NFL in yards passing (5,316), touchdowns (43), completions (485) and attempts (719) during the 2021 season. He led Tampa Bay to its first Super Bowl title since the 2002 season and the team’s first divisional crown since 2007.

- The Associated Press contributed to this report.