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A Source Claims Tom Brady is NOT Unretiring. Hold on. We're Now Being Told That Source is ... Tom Brady.

Ethan Miller. Getty Images.

I've said before and I'll say it now, the once sacred institution of retirement is not what it once was. There was a time in America when you'd announce you were done after 30 or 40 years. They'd give you a gold watch and a party, and you'd walk out the door, never to return. You'd go off to life off your pension until died alone, and not burden anyone with having to watch your sad decline. What Shakespeare called "a second childhood," where you become a pathetic, helpless infant again.

But that was generations ago. Now everyone does the unretirement thing. Aging rock stars do semi-annual "Farewell" tours. Old TV shows can't quit doing reunions. Having already done Han Solo again, Harrison Ford is about to desecrate Indiana Jones' grave again. Michael Keaton is resurrecting his version of Batman. Sean Connery swore he'd "never again" play James Bond, until they inevitably put him back in the 007 tux for Never Say Never Again

And the same goes for athletes. It used to just be boxers who came out of retirement. Once they found out Don King took all the money they'd earned and realized the only way to keep from starving was either risk permanent damage by climbing back into the ring, or end up wearing a vest and a name tag at the entrance to WalMart. Now it's commonplace and getting commonplacer all the time. 

So when Tom Brady followed his boy Gronk into retirement, only to then follow him into unretirement, then re-retire, it was only natural people might assume he really intended to re-unretire. (OK. I'm suffering from Prefix Exhaustion, same as you. I promise that will be the last one.) Because once a guy does it once …

Giphy Images.

And the speculation about the Return of the GOAT reached a predictable fever pitch with word he's buying a piece of the Las Vegas Raiders. And Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had surgery and might not be ready to play for them … forever. So those dots were connected like a constellation in the vague shape of Brady putting on the Silver & Black. No matter how ridiculous the idea is:

Wait. Did I call the idea "stupid" the other day? What could ever give me that impression? After all, the speculation has been coming from some of the most well known football media sites. As well as at least one Hall of Fame media member, who thinks it's not nearly as dumb an idea as I did:

Well I was not afraid to speak for Tom. As someone who has been the world's foremost authority on the subject, I declared this to be utter nonsense, and called it out for the clickbait bullshit it is. Take my word for it. Or better still, take Tom frigging Brady's word for it:

There it is. No wavering. No equivocating. No hesitation. No ambiguity. No leaving the door open for a possible return like the last retirement. Just a definitive answer to a very simple, direct question. Which isn't going to stop anyone who's looking for controversy in a slow news period from keeping this preposterous idea going, just to have something dramatic to talk about. 

But here, we have a little thing called pride in our work. If you want to deal with reality on reality's terms, it doesn't make sense to go anywhere else for your Brady information. Other than Brady himself. Enjoy your Golden Years, TB12. See you in Foxboro in Week 1.