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Understanding Tom Brady’s short-lived retirement | You Pod to Win the Game

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Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and The Athletic’s Robert Mays discuss Brady’s somewhat surprising retirement and subsequent return to the NFL and the Buccaneers. What were the reasons behind his departure, and his change of heart? What was Bruce Arians role? Did Brady try to force his way to another team? Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

CHARLES ROBINSON: There are a million different ways we can approach this. I really only want to know one thing. Like, to me, fine, he's coming back. We'll see what happens. I don't think the team is coming back to is better than the one that he left behind 40 days ago or whatever. You know, the 40-day departure. I just want to know, what the hell happened? Like, what happened that made him decide, I'm retiring, and then 40 days later, go, ah, maybe not? Maybe-- maybe, actually, I'm not going to retire.

And to me, that is completely unnatural. I've not heard anything that makes it make any sense. I just want to know what took you to the point where you wanted to retire and how quickly did you all of a sudden go, wait a minute, I regret that? Was there some kind of emotion about how the season ended, watching the Rams team that you probably felt like you would have beaten if you had taken them to overtime, go and win the Super Bowl, Bruce Arians booting Antonio Brown off the team while you're out on the field? And, you know, you probably would have wanted to come off the field and maybe try to massage that situation a little bit.

Instead, the guys doing jumping jacks in the end zone, and Mike Evans is in-- you know, come into the huddle. Go, hey, man. Some [BLEEP] going on on the sidelines. I just wonder if Brady, there was some element of emotion that really has never been really fully fleshed out there that caused that all to occur, and then he thought better of it after a couple of weeks of sort of sitting and mellowing out a little bit. I don't know how else to explain a 40-day retirement. It's such a weird thing.

And if you had said that to me, he's coming back in 40 days, I would have taken the Mike Florio route out. I'd have been like, yeah, he's probably going to go play somewhere else. The same team he left, he comes back on, you know, less than six weeks. It just doesn't make a lot of sense.

ROBERT MAYS: We could go the conspiracy theory right if you want to.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Hell yes. Hell yes. Let's do that.

ROBERT MAYS: I think the conspiracy theory about is, he didn't want to play in Tampa anymore. The retirement was a way to kind of throw some bait in the water and see if he could force his way somewhere else.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Mm-hmm.

ROBERT MAYS: The Bucs said, go to hell.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Right.

ROBERT MAYS: There's no way we're letting you go anywhere else. And that's what ultimately did this. That's the conspiratorial route. I-- I think a simpler explanation is exactly like you said. It was an emotional thing. The thing that surprised me the most was the timing. Why right after the season? Why wouldn't you take a month? Go spend some time, think about it. Because the 40 days isn't surprising to me with him coming back.

Because if he was going to come back to Tampa, I think he needed to come back last week in order to allow them to get their ducks in a row and build a team around him. So that part of the timing tracks to me. But retiring immediately after the season never made any sense to me. Why wouldn't you remove emotion from the equation, be a little bit more clear-headed in how you're thinking about this, actually take some time to consider every aspect of it, and then ultimately make a decision, the first decision, like, right around now, so both parties, you and the Bucs, can go their separate ways, can do their business, can understand the circumstances that they're playing with here?

So when he walked away, and after the way he played this year, it's like why? Like, why at that moment? Why after playing so well? And now that he's back-- I mean, I agree that their team isn't going to be as good as it was when they won the Super Bowl or maybe when he walked away, but they traded for Shaq Mason today. They signed Russell Gage today. That's still going to be, like, a pretty darn good football team.