Former Viking Has Tom Brady Retirement Token

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, GOAT, and future Hall of Famer Tom Brady retired on Wednesday after posting a heartfelt goodbye on all social media outlets.

In 23 seasons (!!!), Brady amassed this resume:

  • 7-time Super Bowl champion
  • 5-time Super Bowl MVP
  • 3-time NFL MVP
  • 6-time All-Pro
  • 15-time Pro Bowler
  • Most Passing TDs Ever (649)
  • Most Passing Yards Ever (89,214)

Not bad.

Former Viking Has Tom
Dec 25, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

But as he leaves the sport — “for good” this time, he says — one former Minnesota Vikings defender grabbed a retirement token. That’s Jayron Kearse with the Dallas Cowboys, and he’s in possession of Brady’s final interception. Kearse tweeted a picture of the ball and said, “Good thing I held on to this one… Helluva career TB12, the GOAT!!”

Former Viking Has Tom Brady Retirement Token

Here’s the tweet in the flesh:

Kearse departed the Vikings after the 2019 season — the last time Minnesota won a playoff game — and landed with the Detroit Lions for a year. Then in 2021, he joined the Cowboys. Anthony Barr followed suit as well.

Dec 24, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse (27) celebrates with Dallas Cowboys safety Israel Mukuamu (24) after a fourth down play during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports.

Oddly, Kearse didn’t truly blossom until after leaving the Vikings. He started five games in Minnesota but played in 62 total Vikings contests. The Clemson alumnus made a thumbprint on defense at times during the 2019 season but was primarily a special teams contributor throughout his Vikings tenure, 2016-2019. He encountered some legal trouble during his final year in Minnesota, which perhaps led the former front-office regime, led by Rick Spielman, to deprioritize Kearse’s return.

Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse (27) celebrates a sack during the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

The safety fired up an impressive 76.9 Pro Football Focus grade in 2021 as the Cowboys primary starter. The score dipped a smidgen in 2022 to 70.2, but Kearse remained a solid piece of Dallas’ mighty defense.

Other NFLers commemorated Brady’s exodus on Wednesday, as former teammate Rob Gronkowski tweeted, “Tommy, since I already wrote you a long retirement message last year, this time I shall say, welcome to the 2x retired club. You’re a legend and you always will be, my friend.”

Super Bowl-bound center Jason Kelce from the Philadelphia Eagles posted, “The Golden Goat has called it a career. Him now gone, Him legacy shall always remain. Congrats Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. on dominating an entire era of football!”

Jan 4, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks with the media after a loss to the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports.

Teams led by Brady were undefeated against the Vikings his career, playing six times and winning all six contests.

Brady is expected to join FOX as an analyst as one of his first steps in retirement.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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