Tom Brady is retiring from football after 22 seasons in which he won a historic seven Super Bowl titles, sources told ESPN on Saturday.
When Brady, widely considered the greatest quarterback in NFL history, left the field after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' loss to the Los Angeles Rams last weekend, he knew it was likely his final act as a football player, sources said. In the days since, he has spent time digesting that mindset and is preparing his retirement announcement along with the next chapter of his life and career, sources said.
Sources said that Brady's decision to retire is based on several factors, including family and health. Although it's less significant, Brady also recognizes that the Buccaneers are likely to undergo significant roster turnover, sources said.
Brady, 44, has been adamant for weeks that he never wanted a "farewell season," and many who know him believed he desired a decision made without much drama leading up to it. He will shift his focus to new endeavors and believes this is the right moment to end his playing career, sources said.
It is unknown when Brady will formalize his plans to retire, but that move will be made with consideration to not upstage the NFL's postseason games, including the Super Bowl. Brady's company, TB12 Sports, sent a tweet that appeared to confirm his decision but later deleted the post.
Don Yee, Brady's agent, deferred any comment on the quarterback's future to Brady himself.
"I understand the advance speculation about Tom's future," Yee said in a statement. "Without getting into the accuracy or inaccuracy of what's being reported, Tom will be the only person to express his plans with complete accuracy. He knows the realities of the football business and planning calendar as well as anybody, so that should be soon."
Buccaneers executives and coaches have been bracing for Brady's retirement in recent weeks, recognizing that it was more likely than not that he would hang it up after the season, team sources told ESPN. One source said as recently as this week that "all signs point" to Brady's retiring.
The Buccaneers hoped to make an emphatic pitch to persuade Brady to play one more year, but Tampa Bay recognizes that that effort is not expected to have an impact and the team is resigned to the challenges that now lie ahead.
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians told ESPN's Jenna Laine that Brady had not notified him or the team of his plans to retire. Tom Brady Sr. also told ESPN in a text that "Tommy has made no such determination" regarding his playing future.
When Brady makes his decision to retire official, the former New England Patriots quarterback will end a storied career that spanned three different decades on the path from Foxborough to Tampa to Canton.
He won seven Lombardi trophies, the most championships won by a single player in NFL history, along with five Super Bowl MVPs. He piled up career records such as most touchdown passes (624) and most passing yards (84,250) in his 22 seasons.
His performance during the final year of his career -- finishing the regular season as the NFL leader in touchdowns and passing yards -- suggested that Brady could have continued playing at an elite championship level. But he recognized the sacrifice it would take from him and his family and felt it was time to tackle other challenges, sources said.
Earlier in the week, appearing on his "Let's Go" podcast with host Jim Gray, Brady used the word "satisfied" to describe how he felt about his NFL career, which caught the attention of many who know a man who rarely was satisfied with his achievements. Brady cited his family's desires as a heavy factor in his upcoming decision.
"I said this a few years ago, it's what relationships are all about," Brady said on the podcast. "It's not always what I want. It's what we want as a family. And I'm going to spend a lot of time with them and figure out in the future what's next."
Brady and his family have been building a South Florida home just north of Miami.
"I'll know when I know," Brady said during the podcast. "I think for all of us, you know, we can all decompress a bit. It's been six straight months of football. Every day consumed by day in and day out football. And I think now it's just some time to spend some time with my family and spend some time with my kids."