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Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady decides retirement is not for him


All right. If you listen closely, you may still be able to hear champagne corks popping in Tampa, Fla. And that's because Buccaneer fans there are celebrating the return of quarterback Tom Brady. Last night on social media, Brady announced he's returning for a 23rd season less than two months after he announced his retirement. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Tom Brady made his announcement on Twitter, saying, these past two months, I've realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come. But it's not now. The Twitter reaction was fast and furious and funny, from the Brady lovers, who posted GIFs of people crying and wailing, representing the reaction of Brady's upcoming opponents - to Brady haters, who posted stuff like this from a "Star Wars" video game.


SAM WITWER: (As Darth Vader's Secret Apprentice) You agreed to stay away.

MATT SLOAN: (As Darth Vader) I lied.

GOLDMAN: Implying he lied is harsh and probably not true because clues of a conflicted Tom Brady were there. Even before he officially announced his retirement last month, he went on a SiriusXM podcast and talked about what he owed his wife and three children.


TOM BRADY: You know, she deserves what she needs from me as a husband. And my kids deserve what they need from me as a dad. That's what relationships are all about. It's not always what I want. It's what we want as a family.

GOLDMAN: Not always what I want sure sounded like an athlete still with one foot on the field. And now, love it or not, the man considered the greatest quarterback in NFL history - with seven Super Bowl titles - is back. And why wouldn't he be? Last season, the 44-year-old Brady led the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns. We may never know what conversations he had with his supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen, who Brady said hates seeing him get hit on the field. But he will risk that again and rejoin an NFL that less than two months ago Brady said he was leaving to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes.

Tom Goldman, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF GLORIES' "CROWNS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and on NPR.org.