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Tom Brady ends his football playing days but he's not done with the sport

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Tom Brady is retiring from the NFL. The Buccaneers quarterback and onetime Patriots quarterback announced yesterday his 23-year-old football career is over for good. And now he starts a related career because last year, around the first time he retired, he signed a 10-year contract with Fox Sports, reportedly worth $375 million, to be their lead NFL analyst. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports is covering this. Good morning.

MICHAEL MCCARTHY: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: I guess we should begin by asking, do you believe him this time when he says he's retiring?

MCCARTHY: I do believe him. But given that it's Tom Brady and he changed his mind last year after a month, anything is possible. But from everybody I've talked to, Steve, he's tired. He's serious. And this looks like it's it.

INSKEEP: Sure. And he's in his mid-40s. I mean, at some point you want to get away with your health, if you can, from football, I suppose.

MCCARTHY: Absolutely. I mean, you know, it's a dangerous game. It's a high-collision sport. And the fact that he's even playing at age 45 is amazing.

INSKEEP: OK, so we presume then he goes on to a Fox Sports career for $375 million. Granting he's Tom Brady, what makes him worth that much money?

MCCARTHY: Well, he's not just going to be a broadcaster for Fox, Steve. Lachlan Murdoch actually calls him an ambassador, which means he's going to be involved in everything from sales to marketing to strategy. He's really going to be almost an executive as well as a broadcaster. And I think it's a smart move. If you're General Motors and you're in a meeting and you're trying to decide to buy a Super Bowl spot and Tom Brady comes in to finish the deal, you're going to sign on the dotted line.

INSKEEP: (Laughter) Show up at the meeting with a football. You want to play catch?

MCCARTHY: That's right. Catch a pass from Tom - sign.

INSKEEP: But the way that you and I will experience his work is in broadcasting as an analyst. Do you have any idea of whether he's a good broadcaster?

MCCARTHY: I think he's going to actually surprise people, Steve. I think once he got away from Darth Belichick and the suffocating environment in New England, you saw his sense of humor. You saw his timing. You sort of saw the fun-loving nature. So I think he's going to be a terrific analyst. Who could tell you more about how to win a Super Bowl than Tom Brady? He's won more than any other franchise, seven titles. Who could tell you more about a two-minute drill? So I think it's a great move.

INSKEEP: And of course, there's that other skill, which is not only being a great player but being able to articulate it. You think he can do that?

MCCARTHY: I do. I mean, it's not easy. There's been a ton of NFL players and coaches who've come into TV who flopped. I'll give you a two-word answer. Jason Witten - remember him on Monday Night Football? You know, he could barely get a sentence out, the poor guy, he was so nervous. So it is a risk reward. But I think he's going to succeed.

INSKEEP: Even Bill Parcells didn't do well in this job, even though he was such a colorful guy and such an articulate guy normally in press conferences and so forth.

MCCARTHY: Bill Parcells, Joe Montana - you know, go down the list - Emmitt Smith - you know, TV history is littered with famous names that flopped on TV.

INSKEEP: Is Brady going to displace Fox's current color commentator, Greg Olsen, who's pretty popular?

MCCARTHY: Yes. Brady will instantly become the No. 1 analyst with Kevin Burkhardt, which means he gets the Super Bowl and Greg doesn't.

INSKEEP: Does that mean this coming Super Bowl? It could happen that quickly?

MCCARTHY: Well, I've actually been hearing that Fox would like to throw a Hail Mary and get Brady into the programming somehow, either in the booth or more likely in the pre-game studio. But who knows? The guy is tired. It's completely up to him.

INSKEEP: OK. Well, we'll be watching. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, pleasure talking with you.

MCCARTHY: Thank you, Steve. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.