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Buccaneers QB Tom Brady announces 'I'm coming back' for 23rd season 'in Tampa'

Well, that didn't last long.

Just over a month after announcing his retirement, quarterback Tom Brady announced Sunday he will return to play for his 23rd season and do so "in Tampa."

Days after Brady's retirement plans were reported, the longtime Patriots and Bucs QB announced his retirement via social media on Feb. 1. But doubt over how long Brady would actually stay away from the field began almost immediately.

Brady's retirement ended up lasting all of 40 days -- though it was never official as it never came across the league transaction wire. He remains under contract with Tampa Bay, "but it's a placeholder year worth about $10.4 million," NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. Pelissero added it makes sense for the Bucs to repeat what they did ahead of the 2021 season and add a year to Brady's contract in which he would be paid among the NFL's top quarterbacks.

The Buccaneers left the door open for a Brady return and now return to their post as NFC South favorites and Super Bowl contenders after they won a Super Bowl in 2020 and won the division in 2021 with Brady at the helm.

"Total excitement," Bucs head coach Bruce Arians texted NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport on Sunday.

"Tom Brady loves to play football as much as anyone I have ever been around," Arians later said in a statement. "As Tom said, his place right now is on the football field. He is still playing at a championship level and was as productive as anyone in the league last season. We are ecstatic that he decided to continue playing and working toward winning another championship."

The potential for a Brady comeback was also the reason the Bucs never offered the Houston Texans a trade for quarterback Deshaun Watson, Rapoport reported.

The timing of Brady coming back could also bode well for other Bucs returning to the fold, such as free agent Rob Gronkowski and Leonard Fournette.

"We are thrilled that Tom has decided to come back this season," Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht said in a statement. "We said we would leave all options open for him should he reconsider his retirement and today's announcement is something we have been preparing for in recent days. Bruce and I have had plenty of conversations with Tom recently that led us to believe there was a realistic chance he would want to come back. Tom is the greatest quarterback of all time who is still playing at an elite level. With this decision now made, we will continue to move forward with our offseason plans to reload this roster for another championship run."

Brady's NFL career is considered the greatest of all time, hence his G.O.A.T. nickname. He's won seven Super Bowls -- six in New England and one in Tampa Bay -- and concluded the 2022 campaign as the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards (84,520) and touchdowns (624), atop a seemingly never-ending list of records.

At 44, Brady led the NFL in 2021 with 5,316 yards passing and 43 touchdown passes -- each of them also Bucs franchise records -- as he became the oldest player in league history to ever win a passing title. Now, he'll hit the 2022 campaign at 45 years old after his birthday on Aug. 3.

Brady and the Buccaneers' first season together ended with a Super Bowl triumph. Their second act featured a scintillating comeback that fell just short in the Divisional Round against the Los Angeles Rams. Less than two weeks removed from that defeat, Brady announced his retirement. More time has now passed and Brady has changed course.

The G.O.A.T is coming back in 2022.

"Unfinished business," he wrote.

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