Tom Brady’s lengthy Instagram post only answers one part of unpredictable future

Tom Brady will be playing somewhere next season.

The future Hall of Famer squashed any rumors of retirement in a lengthy Instagram post on Wednesday morning that ended with, “I still have more to prove.”

The question now is where he plans to prove it. The possibility of Brady, 42, leaving the Patriots feels more real than ever as he is reportedly cherishing the idea of being a free agent this offseason. He does speak glowingly of Patriots Nation in the social media post, but is it meant as a goodbye or a sign that he wants to return?

“I just wanted to say to all of our fans, THANK YOU!” Brady wrote. “After a few days of reflection, I am so grateful and humbled by the unconditional support you have shown me the past two decades. Running out of that tunnel every week is a feeling that is hard to explain. I wish every season ended in a win, but that’s not the nature of sports (or life).”

The Patriots season ended on Saturday night with a 20-13 upset loss to the Titans in the wild-card round. New England’s offense was bereft of weapons for Brady this season, and it showed against Tennessee.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft has spoken of wanting Brady back, though there have been no sure signs of how this anticipated situation will play out.

“I think I’m just … I’ll explore those opportunities whenever they are. If it’s the Patriots, great,” Brady told NBC Sports after the loss to the Titans. “If that doesn’t work, I don’t know. I just don’t know.”

Brady has been linked to the Chargers and Colts, among other teams, though it’s all guesswork at this point.

“Nobody plays to lose. But the reward for working hard is just that, the work!! I have been blessed to find a career I love, teammates who go to battle with me, an organization that believes in me, and fans who have been behind us every step of the way,” wrote Brady, who has won six Super Bowls with the Patriots.

“Every one of us that works at Gillette Stadium strived to do their best, spent themselves at a worthy cause, and prepared to fail while daring greatly (h/t Teddy Roosevelt). And for that, we’ve been rewarded with something that the scoreboard won’t show – the satisfaction of knowing we gave everything to each other in pursuit of a common goal. That is what TEAM is all about. In both life and football, failure is inevitable.

“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 will find me. Because I know I still have more to prove.”

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