Tom Brady is hinting at a return to NFL but isn't mentioning the Buccaneers

We're a year removed from Tom Brady retiring, but he just can't stay away from the NFL rumor mill.
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Over the past four seasons, the Buccaneers have been one of the NFL's better teams. With regular-season records of 11-5, 13-4, 8-9, and 9-8, along with three-straight NFC South division titles and a dominant 31-9 win in Super Bowl LV, Tampa Bay has enjoyed plenty of success as of late.

In the years leading up to 2019-2023, however, Tampa Bay was consistently one of the worst teams in the league. Dating back to 2011, the Buccaneers won seven or fewer games in all but one season, finished fourth in the NFC South in seven of nine seasons, and had double-digit losses six times.

To enjoy such a turnaround, the Buccaneers landed multiple difference-makers on both sides of the ball, but none were greater than legendary quarterback Tom Brady. Following a historic 20-year career in New England with a multitude of awards, honors, and six Super Bowl rings, Brady signed a two-year, $50 million contract with Tampa Bay in the 2021 offseason.

At 43 years old, Brady was downright phenomenal in his debut season as a Buccaneer, completing 65.7% of his passes for 4,633 passing yards, 40 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and a 102.2 passer rating.

With an 11-5 regular-season record, Tampa Bay won the NFC South division title and hosted their Wild-Card game against Washington, the start of a tremendous playoff run that ended in a Super Bowl LVI win. To do so, Brady led Tampa Bay to wins over Washington, New Orleans, Green Bay, and Kansas City to win their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

To no surprise, Brady was instrumental in their stout playoff run, completing 58.7% of his passes for 1,061 passing yards, ten touchdowns, three interceptions, and a 98.1 passer rating.

Next season, Brady was arguably better than the Buccaneers' Super Bowl winning season, throwing for league-leads of 5,136 passing yards and 43 touchdowns against 12 interceptions on 67.5% completion to go 13-4 in the regular-season and win the NFC South. With that, Brady finished second in the NFL AP MVP award, and third in the NFL OPOY, while also making the All-Pro Second Team and his 15th Pro Bowl.

Tom Brady is once again teasing a return to the NFL

At the ripe age of 45 years old, Brady officially retired from the NFL in the 2022 offseason and has done so for the past two seasons. With that said, Brady hasn't ruled out a return to the NFL as a player or as an owner ahead of the 2024 season.

“I'm not opposed to it. Could be the Patriots. Could be Raiders. You never know,” Brady said in an appearance on the DeepCut Podcast. "I don’t know if they’re going to let me if I become an owner in an NFL team. I’m always going to be in good shape. I’m always going to be able to throw the ball. So to come in for a little bit like MJ [Michael Jordan] coming back, I don’t know if they’d let me, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it.”

At first, Brady's remarks may seem outlandish and unnecessary, as the GOAT will be 47 years old before the 2024 NFL season, and hasn't played football in over two years. Brady was fantastic for the Buccaneers and could fill a similar role for a QB-needy team that is on the brink of a Super Bowl.

He didn't mention the Buccaneers, which is mildly notable since it's the last team he played for and one of the teams that could fit the criteria of a Super Bowl contender. Tampa Bay has Baker Mayfield now, which is perhaps why the Bucs aren't on Brady's radar and can be taken as a form of endorsement for what they have going on.

Can Tom Brady even comeback to the NFL if he's an owner?

It's worth noting that Brady is currently on track to become a minority owner of the Raiders, according to NFL Network, which reported in February his pending investment was recently altered to clear certain league hurdles and allow him to join ownership ranks. With that, Brady’s group is expected to buy roughly 10% of the Raiders franchise, which was recently valued at $5.8 billion.

In order to become a minority owner, Brady’s group will need at least 24 of the 32 NFL majority owners to approve their purchase in a league-wide vote. If Brady is approved, then he'll own a minority stake in a third professional sports team, along with the Las Vegas Aces of the WBNA and the Birmingham City FC.

As far as Brady's return to the NFL is concerned, both the Patriots and the Raiders would be logical suitors for the seven-time Super Bowl champion, along with the Broncos, Saints, and Vikings. At this point, Brady's all-time legacy is secured and anything else he would be able to obtain would be extra credit.

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