Making his weekly appearance on the Let's Go! podcast with Jim Gray on Sirius XM, Brady spoke publicly Monday night for the first time since ESPN reported he was calling it quits after 22 seasons on Saturday.
"I'm responsible for what I say and do, and not for what others say and do," Brady said. "I think one thing I've learned about sports is you can control what you can control and what you can't, you leave to others."
As expected, the 44-year-old Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback did not say for certain one way or the other whether or not the 2021 season was indeed his last.
Brady was out of the country over the weekend, he confirmed to Gray, although that didn't seem to stop people from subjecting themselves to international texting rates to see if it was true that Brady was done.
"I was trying to enjoy a nice weekend, it didn't turn out that way because my phone got really busy," Brady said. "That's just part of being in the situation I'm in."
Following years of declaring he'd play until he was 45, Brady is apparently going to stop one year short but still with seven Super Bowl titles and pretty much every major passing record there is, including yards, touchdowns and completions. He's won more regular season games than any other quarterback as well.
Given what may have been a premature report of his retirement, would Brady consider running it back for a 23rd season?
"I think my motivation for playing football is to win and be successful. Maybe there's still little parts of motivation that come from different places or what people may say or think, but I'm mostly motivated from inside and wanting to be the best for my teammates and my coaches," Brady said.
"That's kind of where my motivation has been for a long time. At different times, you use different tools and techniques to put yourself in the right frame of mind. For me, it's always about being the best I can be for my teammates."
And so we wait, perhaps until the final episode of Brady's docuseries Man in the Arena, which is yet to have a release date announced. Brady is due a $15 million bonus from the Buccaneers on Friday.
"I'll know when the time is right," Brady said. "I'm very blessed to play for as long as I have. As things have gone on in the later parts of my career, whether that was five years ago or even this year, there's a lot of interest in when I'm going to stop playing and I understand that. It's not that I don't recognize that, it's just when I know, I'll know, I'm not going to race to some conclusion about that."
NFL Media is among other outlets to report that Brady is, in fact, retiring, while his agent, Don Yee, said on Saturday that a decision "should be coming soon."