Tom Brady Says He Felt 'Pressure' to Un-Retire from NFL Due to Start of 2022 Free Agency

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Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks to pass during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks to pass during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Tom Brady

Tom Brady says he felt "pressure" to end his brief retirement and return to the NFL due to the start of free agency.

The 44-year-old quarterback said he spoke to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers about reversing his retirement just before free agency began in March. Brady implied that he didn't want the team to make roster decisions while assuming he wouldn't be on the field.

"At this stage, it's like 55 percent yes and 45 percent no. It's not 100-0. That's just the reality," Brady said on Wednesday after participating in Captial One's The Match, according to ESPN. "It's not that I'm not 100 percent committed, it's just as soon as I make the commitment to do it, it's like 'Ugh. All right, here we go.' "

"It's like running a marathon," he continued. "You can't decide two weeks before the marathon, 'Hey, I'm going to start running.' We got right to free agency and I felt some pressure to do it and talked to the team and organization, and it all worked out."

Brady's retirement lasted less than two months. He returned to Tampa Bay on March 13, just days before the start of free agency.

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Tom Brady and Josh Allen talk during Capital One's The Match VI - Brady & Rodgers v Allen & Mahomes at Wynn Golf Club on June 01, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Tom Brady and Josh Allen talk during Capital One's The Match VI - Brady & Rodgers v Allen & Mahomes at Wynn Golf Club on June 01, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Carmen Mandato/Getty Tom Brady and Josh Allen

In April, Brady told PEOPLE the "ultimate goal" of winning another Super Bowl also influenced his decision to return.

"I want to go out there and have my best year yet," he said. "It requires a lot of time and focus and energy, just like everything, every detail matters. Everything's important. There are zero compromises to getting the result that we want. And it's got to be 100 percent effort by everybody to accomplish our goal."

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When asked on Wednesday whether he was ready to retire when he initially made the announcement in February, Brady said "partly."

"I think when you're their [quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen's] age, if you were to ask me, 'Are you going to play football next year?' I would say there's a 100 percent chance I'm playing," he said, ESPN reported. "And I think as I've gotten older, that's changed because I have other responsibilities."

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"So the responsibilities are many people taking care of me and things that I have off the field that are really important to me like my family, my kids, my wife's done an amazing job of that," he said of his wife, Gisele Bündchen. "That's a big commitment from her, so it's harder when you get older. I don't even think they know what's coming."