Tom Brady just keeps pushing the boundaries for how long a quarterback can play the game.
When Brady previously voiced his intention to play until the age of 45, people thought that was a crazy idea. After all, there has been just one quarterback in NFL history to play until the age of 45 (George Blanda) and that was accomplished back in 1975.
Now that Brady continues to excel at the age of 44, that thought doesn’t seem crazy at all. However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback is now starting to speak as if he can play past the age of 45.
After telling teammate Rob Gronkowski that he doesn’t find the idea of playing until age 50 difficult back in September, Brady is now saying that he could “physically” play until 50 or 55 years old, via Andrea Kramer and Hannah Storm of ESPN.
“I really think I can play as long as I want, I really do,” Brady told Kramer and Storm. “I could literally play until I’m 50 or 55 if I wanted to. I don’t think I will obviously…my physical body won’t be the problem. I think it’ll just be, I’m just missing too much of life with my family.”
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Brady’s Production Not Slowing Down
Entering Week 6, Brady had thrown for 15 touchdowns and 1,767 passing yards, ranking second and first in the league in those respective categories. In fact, his 353.4 yards per game pace would give him 6,007 passing yards this season. That mark would obliterate the single-season passing yardage mark set by Peyton Manning (5,477 passing yards in 2013).
Despite getting up there in age, Brady is not slowing down anytime soon. His production, lack of injury history in recent years — he hasn’t missed a start due to injury since the 2008 season — and the NFL’s rules limiting big hits on quarterbacks have made the veteran quarterback’s desire to play deep into his 40’s a real possibility.
As mentioned before, this isn’t the first time Brady has touched on the top of playing into his 50’s. However, his response back in September was less definitive than the recent statement to Kramer and Storm.
“I don’t find it so difficult,” Brady said on the topic of playing until age 50. “Plus in Florida, it’s kind of retiree state, so I feel like I can play and then just glide into retirement. I think I can. I think that’s a yes.”
Brady’s Health Not Much of a Concern
As the topic of when Brady will retire become more prevalent, it becomes increasingly clear that the 44-year-old quarterback rarely mentions injuries or his health as factors preventing him from playing for as long as he wants.
Instead, Brady frequently mentions the desire to spend time with his family along with not producing at an elite level as reasons for why he would retire.
During an interview with Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay, Brady cited family as a reason why he wouldn’t play past the age of 45.
“Beyond that, I don’t know,” Brady says. “Maybe it’s another year after that; maybe it’s two. I’ll have to see where I’m at with my family. That’s probably the overriding factor—what I’m missing out on.”
He then said during the same interview that he wouldn’t play if he looked like he was 44 years old.
“I don’t want to be out there and suck,” Brady says. “You think I want to go out there and look like I’m 44 years old? I want to look like I’m in my prime.”
While the idea of Brady playing until the age of 55 seems a bit outlandish, if there’s anyone that can play for as long as possible, it’s him.
The big takeaway from the quarterback’s recent comments regarding retirement is his body isn’t hurting, even at the age of 44.
When Brady finally does call it quits, it’ll likely be on his terms.