Tom Brady already teased the Carolina Panthers and the rest of the NFC South once. But this time, his departure from the division might be for reals.
A report from NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport on Saturday morning indicated that the seven-time Super Bowl champion and three-time Most Valuable Player is likely moving on from his current digs. Rapoport notes that the sentiment amongst several of his teammates, based off interactions they’ve had with Brady since the Wild-Card Round loss to the Dallas Cowboys, is that he’s done with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The report reads:
One said, “I’d be surprised if he’s back.”
Another opined, “He sounded like a person saying goodbye for good.”
Brady also sounded a similar refrain to media members in his final press conference on Monday. “I just want to say thank you guys for everything this year,” he said, noting his love for the organization and how grateful he was for the respect.
Nothing final. But to those who listened intently, it felt a lot like goodbye.
If this is a goodbye to the NFC South, Brady has already left behind yet another painful parting gift. His last game against the Panthers came in that fateful Week 17 matchup—where he threw for a season-high 432 yards and three touchdowns in knocking Carolina out of playoff contention.
The win also clinched Tampa Bay their second divisional crown in Brady’s three years with the franchise.