ESPN's Wickersham handicaps odds Brady retires a Patriot

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In reality, the last football game Tom Brady will (likely) ever play was for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Symbolically, however, there remains the chance Brady could retire as a member of the New England Patriots. 

Seth Wickersham, who authored It's Better to Be Feared on the Patriots' dynasty, seems to think there's a chance Brady could make the ceremonial move. Appearing on WEEI's The Greg Hill Show on Monday, Wickersham went so far to describe the chances as "strong."

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"I think there [was] some indications of that from Robert Kraft after they played in early October that some of the issues that were going between Brady and the Patriots had been resolved, to an extent, and the idea of him coming back to New England for a day and retiring in those colors would be something that’s on the table," Wickersham said. "That said, I don't know."

Asked about where the relationship between Brady and Bill Belichick currently stands, Wickersham said that Brady certainly doesn't forget the way he left New England after six Super Bowls in 20 seasons.

"There were some raw feelings with the way Brady was allowed to leave the Patriots, with the team kind of opening the door for him to leave and him walking through it," Wickersham said.

But Wickersham also pointed out that Brady and Belichick spoke after Tampa Bay's 19-17 win over the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in October:

"I think he's being sincere when he says that there's a lot of love there between him and Coach Belichick."

Icons leaving their original team and finishing their careers elsewhere is nothing new, nor would be returning on a symbolic one-day contract. Jerry Rice did it with the San Francisco 49ers, LaDanian Tomlinson did it with the San Diego Chargers and Donovan McNabb with the Philadelphia Eagles; curiously, Peyton Manning did not do so with the Indianapolis Colts.

Like Brady, Manning won a championship with his new team, in this case the Denver Broncos. But given the thaw we know that's taken place between the principals involved, it won't come as much of a surprise should Brady opt to unofficially end his career back where it started -- assuming, again, he truly is retiring.

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