What do you mean, Tom Brady? “Treat my first like my last,” the New England Patriots quarterback wrote on social media, “and my last like my first!”
Brady posted the message on his Twitter and Instagram accounts following the team’s first day of minicamp on Tuesday. His arrival at Gillette Stadium for drills and practices made it clear that it was all business. Unlike OTAs, which Brady skipped, attendance at minicamp was mandatory.
It’s the “my last like my first” part of Brady’s message that suddenly invited plenty of speculation among Patriots. “Last”? Last what? Last minicamp? Did Brady mean that this would be the final minicamp in which he’d ever participate? Was this an allusion to retirement? Is Brady hinting that the 2019 season could be his last one?
That’s the conclusion many fans drew after Brady posted what could be viewed as a vague, cryptic statement to social media.
You could feel the fear growing among Patriots and Brady supporters, the dread bubbling to a slow boil.
“Last”? What did Brady mean by “last”? “Last” what?
Brady’s sentence could just have been motivational speak. Treat that first practice like it’s the last one you’ll ever be in. Bring the same energy to that last practice that you had the first time through. You know what he means.
He could have been referring to the approach he’s taking to these minicamp drills and practices. Maybe Brady was trying to pump up fans or provide some guidance to his younger fans.
Or maybe Brady really is dropping the hint that many fans believe he is. Brady is going to turn 42 years old in August. This next season will be his 20th in the NFL. He’s long surpassed what even the most devoted fans would’ve thought possible for him. Joe Montana played 15 professional seasons. John Elway slung it for 16 years. Dan Marino powered through 17 seasons. So did Peyton Manning.
This is the final year on Brady’s contract, a two-year, $30 million extension which essentially tacked one more season on his existing deal. That’s led to plenty of rumblings regarding a new extension.
NFL quarterbacks are signing for bigger money than ever. Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr have all signed new deals in recent years. Drew Brees and Philip Rivers should sign extensions in the near future.
What about Brady? Is this when he’ll truly cash in and become the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL? That’s never been Brady’s style, preferring to help the team keep money available to maintain a perennial Super Bowl contender. But this will almost certainly, very likely, be the last NFL contract Brady ever signs. His wife, Gisele Bundchen, might sit next to him at the table to make sure of that.
But if he wasn’t hinting at retirement, Brady should consider having some fun with such frenzied speculation. Post links to songs like Pearl Jam’s “Last Kiss” or David Bowie’s “Last Dance.” Maybe Europe’s “The Final Countdown.” OK, Brady probably isn’t that mean. Yet if this is indeed his last season, he might decide to have a laugh about it all.