In an interview with Variety published Thursday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback said his decision to return to the NFL after a brief retirement this year was spurred on by his desire for an eighth Super Bowl title.
“I think that would obviously be the greatest way to end,” the 44-year-old told the outlet. “I just have a competitive fire that got the best of me.”
Brady, however, admitted he knows time is running short on his NFL career, even if he managed to delay it with a comeback.
“I really don’t [know when I’ll be done playing],” he said. “I would say it’s year to year: Could this be my last year? Absolutely. Could I change my mind? Absolutely.”
“I’ve realized I don’t have five years left,” he added. “I want to do it my way. I want to give it everything I got and see where I’m at. My body feels really good. I’ve had a lot of traumatic injuries over the years, but if things go really smoothly and we win, that’d be great.”
Brady’s retirement in February only lasted 40 days before he announced his return to Tampa Bay.
The three-time NFL MVP told Variety he made the decision to retire “in the moment” but was ultimately swayed to return to the NFL after speaking with Buccaneers‘ executives and his wife, Gisele Bündchen.
“I made the decision in the moment, and I felt it was the right thing for the team to let the Bucs know,” he said. “You need time to plan. And then through conversations with Bruce [Arians, Tampa Bay’s former coach], Jason [Licht, the team’s general manager] and my wife, I felt like I could still play and compete.”
“And it’s not that I’m any less committed once I say that it’s a yes, but I’ve got a 14-year-old son who lives in New York City — he wants time,” Brady continued. “My wife, she’s been incredibly supportive of my career over a long period of time. So I had to talk with her, you know what I mean? Those decisions get made with me as a family. And I have two younger kids, one 12 and one 9 — everyone’s got challenging lives.”
Brady and the Buccaneers will begin the season with new head coach Todd Bowles, who they hope will lead them to their second Super Bowl appearance in three seasons.
“I know, I know [a 40-day retirement is rare],” Brady told Variety. “I would have preferred to [wait to] un-retire in July if I wanted to play. But I couldn’t. If I said I’m not playing, they’d make plans. So I felt there was a lot of pressure to make a decision quickly.”
“And then ultimately,” he added, “I just decided, ‘Yes, let’s do it.’ And once I said that, it was like — okay, here we go.”