Sources with the Bucs and close to Brady all recognize the star quarterback remains noncommittal to playing beyond this season. Although Brady could decide to play again -- he has talked about playing until he was 45, and even beyond -- it is far from a given, sources told ESPN.
Brady's departure is a topic that quietly has come up within the Tampa Bay organization for weeks now, and there has been internal uncertainty about what the future holds for the seven-time Super Bowl champion and all-time NFL passing leader.
Brady, 44, plans to take time after the season ends -- a month or longer -- to assess how he feels physically and mentally while also gauging his family's desires, sources told ESPN.
For Brady, who has one year remaining on his contract, the decision is likely to be situational: how Tampa Bay finishes this season, and how the three-time league MVP feels when the season concludes. Some sources believe that if the Buccaneers repeat as Super Bowl champions, it would increase the likelihood that Brady could walk away from the game.