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Will Tom Brady retire?

Tom Brady, at age 45, is an unrestricted free agent yet again

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady stands on the field during a game against the Dallas Cowboys, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) stands on the field during the second half of an NFL wild-card football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023, in Tampa, Fla.

Chris O’Meara, Associated Press

Quarterback Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended a difficult season with a difficult game Monday, losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Dallas Cowboys, 31-14.

Even before the final whistle blew, commentators were speculating about 45-year-old Brady’s future. He could retire, as he almost did last year. If he returns to football yet again this fall, he may be suiting up for a different team.

Brady fueled the speculation in his postgame press conference by sharing a special message for Tampa Bay reporters before he walked off the stage. He thanked them for their work this season — and throughout his time with the Buccaneers.

“All you regulars, (I’m) just very grateful for the respect, and I hope I gave the same thing back to you,” he said.

Will Tom Brady retire?

Brady has not yet announced his retirement decision. It’s unclear if he knows the answer yet himself.

During a recent episode of his podcast, Brady said the first few days after the season ends are the wrong time to make decisions about the future. He said he learned that lesson the hard way last year when he announced his retirement — and then unretired 40 days later.

“These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands,” Brady tweeted on March 13.

During the podcast, Brady and one of his guests, former NFL and BYU quarterback Steve Young, reflected on how hard it is to walk away from the game. The day after a star quarterback retires from football is one of the darkest days of his life, Young said.

“When you’re the best in the world at something one day and you leave the game, you’re not that anymore. ... You end up wanting so much to go back to the thing you were great at,” he said, as the Deseret News previously reported.

Could Tom Brady return to the Patriots?

If Tom Brady does keep playing, he may not stay with the Buccaneers. The quarterback is an unrestricted free agent, so he has the power to decide his fate, according to ESPN.

ESPN’s article featured a variety of NFL experts analyzing where Brady should go if he hopes to win another Super Bowl ring.

Three of the seven participants said he should stay in Tampa Bay and run it back with a “stacked roster.” Others thought he should head to a team like the Miami Dolphins, which seems to have every puzzle piece except a superstar quarterback.