Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski, left, and quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrate after the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Tampa, Fla., Feb. 7, 2021. Credit: Steve Luciano / AP

As the old joke goes “denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.” And I’ll admit there isn’t a mask I could wear that would’ve stopped me from catching this bad case of denial.

Tom Brady has retired. You probably heard that news? They say now it’s true. But I’ll tell you right here and now I don’t believe it.

I know perhaps it’s time for me to put down my Y2K manual, dump some of my cans of food I’ve been hoarding and come out of my basement bunker, because right now it looks like I’m a tinfoil hat-wearing crazy person.

I certainly do understand why the greatest quarterback of all time is hanging up his cleats. He would be 45 years old next training camp. His legacy is obviously intact.

This is something we don’t see often at all, a world class athlete leaving at the very top of their game. For Brady the only thing missing was announcing his retirement from a podium, covered in confetti, while holding another Lombardi trophy over his head

TB12 had a great year. He certainly should be MVP this season.

His team went 13-4 and won a playoff game. He remains largely injury free and in amazing health. He’s the King of his Castle and Master of his Domain.

Or is he? Maybe Queen Gisele rules the roost? He does have three kids and being around them more could be an admirable goal. He certainly has other business interests and who knows what the future holds, as he could do just about anything he wants.

Look, I’m old enough now to have cheered through a couple of generations of professional players. I see them drafted, enjoy their great careers and witness their retirements.

But there’s just something about this whole thing that seems like there’s a decent possibility Brady‘s going to play again. I don’t mean just signing a one-day contract and retiring as a Patriot. I would actually hate that.

I’m saying I could really see him playing a couple more seasons for a legit contender like San Francisco. Don’t you think the Niners would’ve beaten the Rams with Brady instead of Garoppolo?

San Francisco presents a chance to move his family to the West Coast where he was born and raised. It would allow Gisele to hang around Hollywood and mingle with the stars instead of senior citizens in Tampa. TB12 and the Mrs. could party with the stars and live the West Coast lifestyle.

Or maybe even Miami? He did just buy a mega mansion there I think?

So many athletes play until they are just shells of their former selves. But Brady is still Tom Brady. He is still the best quarterback on the planet.

He doesn’t need the money but he could certainly solidify all records and maybe claim another trophy or two.

I’ll admit I like a good conspiracy theory. I still think there’s a chance there’s a Bigfoot somewhere on this planet. UFOs could land any time. And I just doubt we’ve seen Brady take his last professional snap.

Jeff Solari is the founder of the Maine Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free weekly sports email newsletter. He has been in sports media since he was 17 and is not shy with his opinions or perspective on the world of sports. The longtime sports broadcaster is a graduate of Mount Desert Island High School and the University of Southern Maine. Previous gigs included WLBZ-TV and WCSH-TV, host of “The Shootaround” talk radio show on WZON and stints with “Downtown” and “The Drive.” Solari has won more than 15 Maine Association of Broadcasters and AP broadcaster awards.

Jeff Solari, Sports contributor

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports email newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in...