Tom Brady has nothing left to prove. He's played in 10 Super Bowls, winning seven of them. Not only are those both records for an individual player, but his seven titles are also more as an individual than any franchise. He's been named Super Bowl MVP five times and captured the regular season MVP three more times. His record as the greatest quarterback of all time seems secure--at least, to anyone who has been paying attention to his career for the past 22 years. 

It appears, however, there's one person who thinks Brady might have something left to prove--Brady, himself. That's because, despite retiring earlier this year, Brady announced on Twitter yesterday that he had changed his mind, and would be returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for his 23rd season. His reason was summed up in two words: Unfinished business.

It would be reasonable to ask what possible unfinished business exists for someone with a career like Brady. When he retired,  just 41 days ago, he explained it was "time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention." 

Interestingly, his retirement statement didn't say that Brady had done all he set out to do. It didn't say he felt that his accomplished career was complete, just that he was no longer willing to make the "all-in" commitment to playing football. There's a big difference there, and it's one worth examining.

Retiring because you've finished what you started, and accomplished all of your goals makes sense. Walking away from the sport that defined you--and, which, in many ways, you defined in return--is one thing when you have nothing left to prove. Doing it because you're tired and no longer sure you have what it takes to commit to the training and punishment required to compete at a high level, is another. 

If Brady chose to hang up his cleats because he just didn't want to put himself through that anymore, that's perfectly reasonable--but it's not the same as leaving because you're finished. His career accomplishments are unmatched, and many of his records are likely to stand for a long time. On the surface, it doesn't look like there's much that Brady could do to improve on his already legendary career. Would winning an eighth title make much of a difference? 

Brady, however, appears to have something left he wants to prove--maybe not to those watching, but to himself. Really, if you think about it, that's the thing that separates those who perform at the highest levels from everyone else. Maybe he just wants to compete. After all, you don't become the winningest quarterback of all time without strong internal motivation driving you to keep going. 

I think, perhaps, the answer is as simple as a comment he made after his loss to the Rams in January. When asked whether he had gotten nostalgic as he walked out on the field for possibly his last game, Brady's response was straightforward: "No, I was thinking about winning," Brady responded. "That's kind of my mentality always, to go out there and try to win--to give my team the best chance to win."

It's worth mentioning that Brady didn't win that game.

Perhaps that's the unfinished business Brady was thinking about. The only thing left for him is to win his final game. That might not seem like something that matters to the rest of us, but I don't think Brady is concerned about what the rest of us think at this point. 

If the reason you do something is that it's what you think everyone else expects, you're doing it wrong. That's true, by the way, of continuing to compete or of walking away. That decision should be based only on what you have to prove to yourself. If Brady believes he has unfinished business, who is anyone else to begrudge him a return to the field.