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One of them was Lawrence, the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback, who penned a tribute to Brady on the same day of the announcement.
"Happy retirement @tombrady. You truly paved the way for quarterbacks for decades," Lawrence — who chatted with PEOPLE about his latest partnership with Tostitos — wrote on his Instagram Story at the time. "Thankful for your example. The game will miss you."
Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl champion, shared his admiration for the then-rookie by reposting his Instagram tribute. At the time, Lawrence had just finished his first season in the league after being selected as the No. 1 pick during the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Alika Jenner/Getty Images Trevor Lawrence
"The future is bright for you," Brady wrote to Lawrence in an Instagram Story.
Exactly one year later, on Wednesday morning of this week, Brady announced his retirement from the NFL for a second time.
When chatting with PEOPLE about Brady's decision to hang up his NFL jersey for good, Lawrence recalled the powerful words he received from the QB, whose career spanned 23 seasons on the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
— Tyler Devitte (@TylerDevitte) February 2, 2022
"He's the best quarterback of all time. You can't argue that," Lawrence explains, adding that he's honored but wishes he "would've gotten to play against [Brady] and meet him."
Despite not crossing paths with each other, Lawrence cherishes the moments he's had to watch Brady and "really learn from him."
He adds, "So it's cool for him to [also] show respect."
Ahead of the 2023 Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, Lawrence is partnering with Tostitos.
The company is launching a pop-up restaurant, Tost by Tostitos, for the Super Bowl in Arizona where "they're using their chips and snacks and everything to create items on a menu that's more than just the chips — they're using it to create cool foods," Lawrence says.
Lawrence notes that Tostitos is "also doing a social media giveaway" on its official Instagram page, giving fans across the U.S. an opportunity to win a lineup of DIY recipes, chips, and more — plus a personalized video message from the NFL star himself.
Those who wish to participate must comment using the hashtags #TostbyTostitos and #Sweepstakes between now through Feb. 8 for a chance to win.