Peter King interviewed New England Patriots star signal-caller Tom Brady for a piece on The MMQB, and the headlining question was supposed to be about Brady’s thoughts on Aaron Hernandez. The answer was obviously vanilla, which King tipped off beforehand on an appearance on WEEI. However, the quick three questions that Brady answered were still well-worth reading on the site, and I would like to highlight Brady’s answer to King’s second question, does Brady still want to play until he’s 40?
Here’s what the ultra-competitive legend said, “The way I feel now, it’s beyond 40. I have a lot of goals, and I am in this for the long haul. I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. Whether the team wants me, or whether something [like an injury] happens tomorrow to stop me from playing, that remains to be seen. But my training, my nutrition, the bodywork I do—I can’t see not playing at any time in the near future. There’s nothing I love to do more. Whether the New England Patriots want me, or anyone wants me, I know I want to play for quite a while.”
2018 has been the year highlighted for Tom Brady’s retirement due to his recent contract extension which takes him until free agency in 2018, and I would think that the Patriots would keep Brady on the roster until he decides to walk away from the game. At 36, that remains to be seen, but his contract would take him a bit past his age 40 season. Could he still be a viable starter beyond then? Of course Brady’s answer will reflect that he thinks so, and he does have a few things going for him. Decision-making only gets better with age and his accuracy shouldn’t deteriorate, so his most important qualities will be fine. But how about his ability to take the hits? To avoid the hits physically? To make some tough throws (especially downfield)? He’ll have the pocket awareness, accuracy and all of that, and the question of how long Brady can play is almost a synonym for, “How long to elite quarterbacks last and how do they age?”
Brady has only had one severe injury to this point and has no nagging injuries, and he is constantly working on his delivery and nutritional program. If anybody can last for an extremely long time in this league, then it would be Tom Brady. But when should he walk away from the game? Will somebody else take his place as a starter before then? If so, will he keep playing? I believe his fire to win and compete will never die, and walking away from the game will likely end up being an incredibly hard decision for Brady.
But until then, it’s time to win some more rings. If he can still play and still wants to play beyond 40, then I’m sure the New England Patriots won’t say “no” to Brady.