Blake Shelton Hints at Retirement After Extending Recording Contract

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Blake Shelton sent some mixed messages in the early days of 2018. A Jan. 2 tweet scared some fans of the 41-year-old country singer and The Voice judge into revisiting early retirement rumors. Pair that with news that Shelton signed a new contract with Warner Brothers Nashville, and who really knows what's next for the "I'll Name the Dogs" singer.

The tweet in question begins innocently enough, with Shelton tipping his hat to former Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians. A vague hint at joining the retired coach "real soon" rekindled rumors of Shelton's retirement. As recently as last summer, the internet was abuzz with speculation that Shelton might either cut back or completely cut out his professional obligations.

Shelton still hasn't publicly addressed the tweet and its fallout.

Many fans of Shelton and his girlfriend Gwen Stefani reacted to the tweet with grief-stricken panic that People's reigning Sexiest Man Alive might spend more time at home.

To others, retirement seems understandable, if not advisable. Those fans encouraged the couple to follow their hearts and do what's best for their families.

Shelton's Dec. 20 decision to re-up his contract with Warner Brothers/Warner Music Nashville muddies the early retirement waters. Although the terms of the deal are not public, Warner Music Nashville chairman/CEO John Esposito seems confident that Shelton's 16-year run with the label isn't ending any time soon. "He re-signed with us to basically end his career here," Esposito told Billboard. "That's a long time."

What does the future hold for Blake Shelton? Post-retirement hang-out sessions with Arians? A lighter touring schedule that allows for time at home in between recording sessions? An exit from The Voice? Who aside from Shelton really knows his plans or time frame following his Country Music Freaks tour in February and March.

WATCH: The Evolution Of Blake Shelton

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Blake Shelton Hints at Retirement After Extending Recording Contract