COLUMN | After many years of despise, I am now a Tom Brady fan

Tom Brady says he is retiring “for good” from football, ending a storied 23-year NFL career during which the star quarterback won seven Super Bowls and set numerous records.

Brady announced his decision Wednesday on social media, saying he “wouldn’t change a thing” about his career.

“I know the process was a pretty big deal last time, so when I woke up this morning, I figured I’d just press record and let you guys know first,” Brady said in a video on Twitter. “I won’t be long-winded. You only get one super emotional retirement essay, and I used mine up last year, so really thank you guys so much to every single one of you for supporting me.”

Out of all the years growing up as a kid, loving the game of football and watching every game on Saturday and Sunday, I never really cared much for Tom Brady. The same way I’ve never really cared for LeBron James or Tiger Woods. It wasn’t because I am a Miami Dolphins fan or because I was jealous of the Patriots for having him, I just couldn’t seem to bring myself to like him. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was that made me dislike him. I just really don’t like the Patriots. Maybe it was also because I was always a huge fan of Peyton Manning and Brady would frequently defeat Peyton in the AFC Championship game.

Yeah, that’s it.

When Tom Brady made the decision to leave New England and join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, my opinions of him started to change. One could say that it was because he was on a new team that he became more “likable”. I tend to disagree with that. Tom was always sort of this closed off jerk in New England. You didn’t get much out of him during that run in New England. He didn’t talk to the media much, he didn’t go on radio shows and even when he did, it was bland. You’d rather listen to my old episodes of 4th And Truth than listen to Brady on the radio in those days. His demeanor, attitude and focus at that time was all about work. We all should respect that.

The run in Tampa Bay was one that I thought was going to last a little longer than it did, but let’s be honest, Tom Brady is almost 46 years old. Tom retiring today is tugging at my heart strings because part of my childhood is hanging up the cleats, but I also feel like Tom Brady really sacrificed and lost part of his edge, which made him so great, with his decision to come back and play for another year in Tampa. I know a lot of times when we look at celebrities and superior professional athletes, we view their marriages and relationships as something that isn’t “real”. Like: “Who cares? He’s rich, he can find another one just as good looking. He will be OK.” Maybe, just maybe, Gisele leaving him had something to do with why he didn’t look himself this past season. Why he often times looked detached and disinterested. He publicly had to address it when she left, and it was the elephant in the room for a long period of time. A distraction? Absolutely. It’s widely known that Gisele was unhappy with Tom for his commitment to the NFL and wanted him to retire. I’m not married, but I can totally understand both sides of their situation. Tom loves football and wants to keep grinding, Gisele wants more time at home with Tom. The question that looms is why exactly did Tom come back and play for a very average football team with a new coach and go out like this when he knew the marriage was sort of at this ultimatum breaking point? “Me or football” Why not ride off into the sunset with a Super Bowl the way Peyton Manning did and keep your family? Obviously, we don’t know the ins and outs of Tom and Giselle’s marriage, but it’s no secret that she wanted more time with him, and for him to retire so they could ride off into the sunset together.

As I watch the Tom Brady retirement video of him sitting on the beach somewhere in Florida, with the wind blowing through his hair, him sitting alone, I got teary-eyed. The depressed look on his face, the choking and cracking of his voice. It’s a lot. It’s a lot, because I truly think that Tom Brady is feeling much more in that moment in that video than we can begin to imagine. All of the emotions, all of the questions running through his mind. All Tom Brady knows is football. He’s going to be a wonderful broadcaster and businessman, but he’s a football player. That’s his identity. Maybe I’m making it out to be more than what it actually is, but I doubt it. The man is walking away from the game that made him who he is. Usually, when the greats retire, they run home to their family and it’s just a big celebration. Well, Tom Brady doesn’t have that today. Of course he still has his kids, which is the most important thing, but a loving wife and family under one roof together is something that isn’t there for Tom right now. That’s what makes today so sad. Did he give up his family for one more year of meaningless football? I don’t think so. There’s always more to the story, you know that.

So with all that said, I just want to say thank you Tom Brady. Thank you for being the greatest quarterback to ever live and for becoming somebody that I truly did like. I know that the future is bright and opportunistic for you, and you have absolutely nothing to look back on in your football career and say that it was unfinished. I truly wish that the front office of the Miami Dolphins weren’t so incompetent and inept at decision making or else I truly believe that you would be throwing darts to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle next year in South Beach. Thank you for all that you did for the game football and you will truly be a living legend for the rest of your time. Enjoy life!

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