TAMPA, Fla. — Keeping true to his phrase, that he would not be “taking time to smell the roses” in what may need been his remaining recreation with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and presumably within the NFL, quarterback Tom Brady was among the many first to succeed in the tunnel at Raymond James Stadium after the Bucs fell 31-14 to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night time within the wild-card spherical of the playoffs.
It was simply the third time in his 23-year profession that he misplaced within the opening spherical of the postseason. With his gaze downward, he wiped the sweat from his brow and thru his tousled hair. He then shared an embrace with Bucs security Logan Ryan, who spent 4 seasons with Brady on the New England Patriots, as the 2 made their approach to the locker room.
“Not the way we wanted to end it, but we didn’t deserve it,” stated Brady, who, like he did by means of a lot of the season, struggled to get something going offensively towards Dallas with out ample safety or a floor recreation. “I give them a lot of credit. They played a good game. Made a lot more plays than we did, so a tough night.
“I believe there’s part of soccer the place I really feel prefer it’s — generally you get fortunate, however more often than not, the group that earns it wins, they usually performed [well] all yr.”
With his contract set to expire and a “no tag” clause, Brady cannot be franchise-tagged and will become an unrestricted free agent at age 45 unless the Bucs are able to re-sign him. He will be free to sign with any team, if he chooses to continue playing.
“I’m gonna go residence and get a great night time’s sleep — nearly as good as I can tonight,” Brady said, adding that he has no timetable for making a decision. “This has been all I’ve centered on — this recreation. It’ll simply be someday at a time. Truly.”
A year ago, Brady decided to call it a career. But 40 days later, he changed course, saying in a post on social media, “These previous two months I’ve realized my place continues to be on the sector and never within the stands. That time will come. But it is not now.”
Brady was asked whether he felt anything different walking off the field Monday night than he did at the end of last season.
“It simply looks like the tip of the season,” he said, before he began thanking the people in the room. The reality appeared to set in that this might have been it for his time in Tampa after three seasons.
“I simply need to say thanks guys for every part you probably did this yr. I actually recognize all of your effort. I do know it is laborious for you guys. I do know it is laborious for us gamers to make it by means of,” he continued. “You guys received a troublesome job, and I recognize all you guys do to cowl us, and everybody who watches and is an enormous fan of the game — we’re very grateful for everybody’s help. I really like this group. It’s a fantastic place to be.”
Brady then began to get choked up.
“Thank you everyone for welcoming me, all of the regulars,” he said. “And I’m simply very grateful for the respect, and I hope I gave the identical factor again to you guys. So thanks very a lot.”
Several teammates took turns thanking Brady in the locker room.
“It’s positively a surreal feeling, to observe someone as a child, after which clearly getting the prospect to be within the locker room and speaking with him, competing towards him [in practice] — you see why he’s the man he’s, why he is so nice at taking part in quarterback,” said inside linebacker Lavonte David, who also is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
“I’m positively appreciative of him,” David added. “I advised him, ‘No matter what, you are the GOAT in my eyes.'”
Prior to Brady’s arrival, David had spent eight seasons in the NFL before finally getting a taste of the playoffs, with Brady leading the Bucs to a Super Bowl victory his first season in Tampa in 2020. Then, in 2021, the Bucs were eliminated in the divisional round in a last-second 30-27 loss.
“[He’s] a man I appeared as much as my entire life and simply the chance to study beneath him — not simply soccer however form of simply the way in which he handles himself with so many alternative issues. He at all times handles himself — nicely, more often than not — with grace and humility,” Cameron Brate said of Brady with a laugh. The tight end had gone six seasons without a playoff appearance prior to teaming up with Brady. “It’s superior that I received to try this. … It’s been superb taking part in with Tom. Who is aware of what is going to occur with him. I do know he’ll in all probability take some extra time this yr to determine what he is doing, like final yr. But yeah, it has been superior.”
Rookie running back Rachaad White was equally grateful and called Brady an “superior human being.”
“Just having the ability to meet him, taking part in alongside and simply decide his mind as a human being exterior of sports activities and issues like that was nice,” White said. “Obviously, it will be superior if he performed one other yr, in fact. But it is as much as him, you understand? I imply, I simply turned 24. It could be his [24th] season. He’s been within the league since I used to be born.”