Rob Ninkovich discussed Tom Brady’s decision to return to football after retiring

"You're on your own two feet, and then you have that itch to go back one more time, and it gets you."

Rob Ninkovich Tom Brady
Tom Brady and Rob Ninkovich in 2014. Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

Like anyone who watched Tom Brady during 2021 season, Rob Ninkovich isn’t worried about whether the longtime quarterback can still play at a high level.

But — with Brady having announced his return to the NFL after just 40 days of retirement — Ninkovich said he has a different concern.

Speaking with WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Monday, Ninkovich elaborated on Brady’s choice.

“Here’s the only thing that I get concerned with,” Ninkovich began. “When guys have everything and they’ve accomplished more than anyone but they still cant let it go, at what point does Tom feel satisfied? He’s made $300 million. He’s made more money than anyone can imagine. He’s got more Super Bowls. He’s got a beautiful family.”

Ninkovich cited the movie “The Town,” in which the character has trouble walking away.


“You get away. You’re free. You’ve done it,” Ninkovich said. “You’re on your own two feet, and then you have that itch to go back one more time, and it gets you. So I hope that doesn’t happen.”

An obvious potential downside for Brady would be an injury.

“He’ll be what, 45? There are things that happen that are out of your control,” Ninkovich explained. “You go to scramble for a first down and you’re 45 years old. You might have a calf [injury], or something that happens to you, and then what do you do? If you have an injury, then how do you digest that one?

“That was a big thing for me,” Ninkovich added. “I had an opportunity to play football after I retired. My whole thing was that if I go back there and pop my Achilles, you know how mad I’ll be at myself? If I go out there and tear my ACL, you know how mad I’d be that I’d have to rehab and ACL and I’m retired. I think that’s another risk factor, but when you do it, you have to be all-in.”


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