Tom Brady revealed the start of free agency did indeed play part in his decision to end retirement. In early February, Brady announced he was done with football after 22 seasons in the NFL. On March 14, just before the start of free agency, Brady announced he was returning to the NFL for his 23rd season.
Having Brady on board positively impacted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offseason as some free agents decided to stay, while some other big names decided to com to Tampa. "At this stage, it's like 55% yes and 45% no," Brady said on TNT, per ESPN.
"It's not 100-0. That's just the reality. It's not that I'm not 100% 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.
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 was partly ready to retire
Brady turned 44 before the start of 2021 season and some believed he was pressured by his family and those close to him to retire. When Brady was asked about his decision to retire, he confirmed he was ready partly ready for life without football.
"Partly, you know, yes," Brady said. "And I think when you're their [Mahomes' and Allen's] age, if you were to ask me, 'Are you going to play football next year?' I would say there's a 100% chance I'm playing.
And I think as I've gotten older, that's changed because I have other responsibilities. 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.
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. Aaron [Rodgers] knows these things because your life gets bigger as we all do, our life gets more full -- there's more responsibilities."
After Brady retired, the Buccaneers weren't viewed among top contenders for the Super Bowl in 2022. Following Brady's decision to unretire, the Buccaneers' Super Bowl chances massively increased.