First he made a 6 a.m. phone call to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers notifying them of his plans. Then he posted a tearful video on social media two hours later.

Sitting on the beach with a gray-cast sky behind him, with waves softly crashing to the shore Tuesday, seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady said, "Good morning, guys. I'll get to the point right away. I'm retiring. For good.

"I know the process was a pretty big deal last time so when I woke up this morning, I figured I'd just press record and let you guys know first. I won't be long-winded. I think you only get one super emotional retirement essay and I used mine up last year, so really thank you guys so much to every single one of you for supporting me.

"Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream. I wouldn't change a thing. I love you all."

The announcement came a year to the day after he announced his retirement the first time, before returning 40 days later, citing "unfinished business."

But what happened in between -- the end of his 13-year marriage to Gisele Bundchen, losing nearly his entire offensive line to injury, the first losing season of his 23-year career and a loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round of the playoffs -- doesn't begin to tell the full story of a man whose career had for so long been defined by winning and who suddenly seemed more vulnerable and relatable than ever before.

His one last comeback wasn't helping the Bucs win the NFC South title, it was picking himself up in one of the most challenging years of his life professionally and personally.

It was finding brilliance once more on the field -- brilliance that came in spurts but was also sullied by declining play that signified the end was near -- and having the courage to walk away despite acknowledging football would always define him.