Tom Brady has confirmed his retirement from the NFL after 22 seasons.
Widely considered the greatest American football player of all time, Brady won six Super Bowls in 20 seasons with the New England Patriots and a seventh Super Bowl in two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 44-year-old quarterback had already stated a desire to spend more time with his wife, Gisele Bundchen, and his three children.
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He also says he wants to spend time working on the businesses he owns.
He wrote in a statement on Instagram: "I have always believed the sport of football is an ‘all-in’ proposition – if a 100% competitive commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game.
"There is a physical, mental and emotional challenge EVERY single day that has allowed me to maximize my highest potential. And I have tried my very best these past 22 years. There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life.
"This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention. I’ve done a lot of reflecting the past week and have asked myself difficult questions. And I am so proud of what we have achieved.
"My teammates, coaches, fellow competitors, and fans deserve 100% of me, but right now, it’s best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes.”
Brady's last game in the NFL was an NFC divisional round defeat to the Los Angeles Rams in the play-offs.
Brady and the Bucs were looking to defend the Super Bowl title they won last year when they beat the Kansas City Chiefs in their home stadium in Tampa, Florida.
"My playing career has been such a thrilling ride, and far beyond my imagination, and full of ups and downs," added Brady. "When you're in it every day, you really don't think about any kind of ending.
"As I sit here now, however, I think of all the great players and coaches I was privileged to play with and against - the competition was fierce and deep, JUST HOW WE LIKE IT.
"But the friendships and relationships are just as fierce and deep. I will remember and cherish these memories and re-visit them often. I feel like the luckiest person in the world.
"The future is exciting. I'm fortunate to have co-founded incredible companies that I am excited to continue to help build and grow, but exactly what my days will look like will be a work-in-progress. I know for sure I want to spend a lot of time giving to other and trying to enrich other people's lives, just as so many have done for me.
"With much love, appreciation, and gratitude, Tom."
Brady was famously seen as an unremarkable prospect coming out of college so was not selected until the sixth round of the draft in 2000 with the 199th overall pick by the Patriots.
He was the seventh quarterback taken in the draft but will go down as the greatest quarterback the sport has ever seen.
He holds a number of quarterback records, including most passing touchdowns (624), passing yards (84,250), games started, along with the most Pro Bowl selections.
His seven Super Bowl wins are the most by any player in NFL history.
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