A secret plan, a bombshell lawsuit, and a soccer match: Inside Tom Brady’s un-retirement

In Tampa, Tom Brady will be reunited with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich (right) — but Bruce Arians will not be the head coach. Getty Images

On Feb. 1, Tom Brady announced that he was stepping away from football. The Buccaneers moved ahead with Bruce Arians as head coach and assessed their options at quarterback.

By March 30, Brady was back with the Bucs, preparing to play his 23rd NFL season at age 45. And his head coach was Todd Bowles after Arians retired and took a consulting job with the team.

How did this drastic turn of events take place in just two months? This wasn’t a Brett Favre situation, with Brady walking away for several months before getting the itch again during training camp. Brady was “retired” for all of 40 days, and came back in time for the Buccaneers to be active in free agency.


Instead, Brady’s change of heart was the result of a fascinating fall of dominos involving the Miami Dolphins, Sean Payton, Brian Flores’s lawsuit, former Patriots offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger, and a Manchester United soccer match.

If Brady had his way, he would have been running — and potentially quarterbacking — one of the Patriots’ division rivals. Instead, a series of unforeseen events led him back to Tampa.

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