On Sunday, Tom Brady announced that at 45-years old he would be coming out of retirement to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for his 23rd NFL season. TB12 coming out of retirement might have shocked the NFL world, but it isn't the first time a legend has bowed out, only to return to the gridiron.
5 times NFL players came back out of retirement
#5 - Eric Weddle, Safety
Veteran safety Eric Weddle retired in 2019 after 13 seasons with the Chargers, Ravens, and Rams, where he earned a total of 6 Pro Bowl selections. However, after safeties, Taylor Rapp and Jordan Fuller both went down with injuries during the 2021 playoff run, Weddle came out of retirement to sign for the Rams' practice squad and then the active roster.
Weddle would play in the NFC Championship win against the San Francisco 49ers before starting in the Super Bowl 56 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Weddle played 61 snaps in the Super Bowl despite rupturing his pec in 2 places before announcing his retirement for the second and final time.
#4 - Rob Gronkowski, Tight End
Tom Brady's go-to target for many years in New England was Rob Gronkowski. However, in March 2019, the legendary tight end decided to call it quits, citing mental health issues amongst other reasons for walking away.
In 2020, Brady, who was now on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, persuaded Gronk to return, and the duo picked up where they left off. Gronkowski caught seven regular-season touchdowns and two more in the Super Bowl 55 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs to give Gronk his 4th Super Bowl ring.
#3 - Marshawn Lynch, RB
Iconic Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch first called it a career the day after Super Bowl 50 in February 2016. After ten seasons with both the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks, which included a victory in Super Bowl 47 against the Denver Broncos, Lynch decided to retire from the NFL.
However, in 2017 Beast Mode returned to the NFL, signing with the Oakland Raiders, during which time he became just the 31st player in NFL history to record over 10000 rushing yards. After a modest 2018 season, Lynch returned to the Seattle Seahawks in 2019 for their playoff run, where he scored a touchdown in a Wild Card Round victory against the Philadelphia Eagles.
#2 - Brett Favre, Quarterback
Like Brady, Brett Favre deliberated with retirement before announcing he would walk away in March 2008. Favre was the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers for 16 seasons, winning 3 NFL MVP awards and Super Bowl 31. Favre was hoping to return to the Pack, but they announced they would be rolling with Aaron Rodgers as the starting QB. Favre was subsequently traded to the New York Jets.
After 1 season with the Jets, Favre retired again before signing for the Minnesota Vikings, giving Favre the chance to play the Packers twice a year. The 2009 season for Favre and the Vikings was successful as they swept the Packers in the regular season and reached the NFC Championship game. He would play two seasons with the Vikings before retiring for good in 2010.
#1 - Tom Brady, Quarterback
Finally, we have the big news this week that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady will be coming out of retirement to play in 2022. After being knocked by the LA Rams in the Divisional Round in the 2021 playoffs, Brady claims he has unfinished business.'
Brady returns to Tampa following an MVP caliber season in 2021, where he threw for a league-high 5,316 yards and 43 touchdowns. Brady, of course, already has a tonne of NFL records to his name, including most touchdown passes (624), most passing yards (84,520), and most career quarterback wins (243).
How long Tom Brady's comeback will last is anyone's guess, but the quarterback will stop at nothing to claim his eighth Super Bowl ring.
Poll : Will Tom Brady win his 8th Super Bowl with the Bucs in 2022?