Patriots quarterback Tom Brady all but confirmed he plans to play football next season with an Instagram post Wednesday morning.

In his post, Brady thanked fans by saying he is “grateful and humbled by the unconditional support” they’ve shown him over the past two decades. He acknowledged the Patriots organization for believing in him. And he indicated he’ll be back on the field soon, just days after the season-ending 20-13 loss to the Titans in the AFC wild-card round.

“In both life and football, failure is inevitable,” Brady wrote. “You don’t always win. You can, however, learn from that failure, pick yourself up with great enthusiasm, and place yourself in the arena again. And that’s right where you’ll find me. Because I know I still have more to prove.”

Speculation over Brady’s future has ramped up in recent weeks, as he is slated to become a free agent for the first time in his career in March. Brady agreed to a contract restructure last summer that served as a faux extension. It gave him a pay raise, prohibited the team from placing the franchise tag on him and tacked two years onto his current deal, all at the cost of the contract voiding on the final day of the 2019-20 league year.

That means if Brady and the Patriots fail to agree to a new contract prior to March 18 at 4 p.m., he will hit the open market and the Patriots are off the hook for the money promised on the two “void years” left on his deal. However, Brady would count $13.5 million against the salary cap next season because of his prorated signing bonus from last summer. If Brady renegotiates a new deal before his contract expires, only $6.75 million from his 2019 signing bonus would count against the 2020 cap.

During his end-of-season press conference Sunday, Coach Bill Belichick declined to address Brady’s future.

“I want to give the proper attention and communication and detail and thought into my input into those decisions,” Belichick said. “But any decision made is not an individual decision. There are other people involved. There has to be some type of communication, understanding, agreement, whatever you want to call it. That’s not a one-way street. I hope you can understand that. One person can’t just decide what everybody else is going to do. … There’s a lot of time, thought and effort and communication that goes into that. Now is not the time.”

The night before, minutes after the Patriots’ playoff loss to Tennessee, Brady said it was “probably unlikely” and “hopefully unlikely” he would retire.

Brady is coming off one of the worst statistical seasons of his 20-year Hall of Fame career. He completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 4,057 yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions during the regular season. He threw for 207 yards and one interception in the wild-card round.


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