Months after Tom Brady signed a contract extension to play until age 45, Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said he will welcome Brady to play until age 50.
But Brady isn’t quite ready to plan on it.
“50? That’s a long time. Even for me, that’s a long time,” Brady told USA Today’s Jori Epstein. “I’ve always said 45 was the age that I wanted to reach and that was my goal. This year I’ll be 44, so next year I’ll be 45. I got a two-year contract.
“I’m going to be able to obviously play this year and God forbid anything happens but play next year and then see what happens after that,” Brady added. “If I still want to keep playing, I might be able to do that. And if that’s enough, then that would be enough.”
Brady owns many records in his illustrious career, but he still has a few years to go to become the oldest NFL player ever — if that’s a goal of his. That mark belongs to the late George Blanda, who played his last NFL game at age 48 in 1976 as a kicker with the Oakland Raiders, according to Athlon Sports’ Aaron Tallent.
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Brady’s Old Teammate Made It to 46 in the NFL
Former Brady teammate Adam Vinateri threatened to tie the mark but retired at age 46 this year. The longtime kicker hit game-winning field goals for the New England Patriots in 2002 and 2004 when Brady quarterbacked the team. Brady honored his former teammate on social media in May.
As Epstein noted, Brady will turn 46 for the 2023 season after his current contract with the Bucs expires. The Bucs have three voidable years in Brady’s current contract but would either need to extend him again or re-sign him to a new contract.
Otherwise, Brady will become a free agent in 2023. Licht has already told Brady that the door is open to stay beyond 2022.
“I told him if he wants to play until he’s 50, and he’s still playing, and he feels like he can still play, he can play until he’s 50,” Licht told Rich Eisen on the May 10 “Rich Eisen Show.”
Brady wouldn’t jump to any conclusions on what 2023 — or beyond — will look like for him, per Epstein.
“I’ll just have to evaluate all that when it comes,” Brady told Epstein.
Prospects for Brady Making It to 50 in the NFL
Brady checks the health box at this time as he hasn’t missed time due to major injuries since 2008. He had offseason knee surgery this year after the knee bothered him during the 2020 season, but he says the knee is 100% now.
Getting to 50 might not look like Brady’s past two decades in the league. Non-kickers over age 43 haven’t been regular starters in the modern era, according to Tallent.
Former Bucs quarterback Vinny Testaverde started six games at age 44 for the Carolina Panthers in 2007 before retiring. Steve DeBerg, also a one-time Bucs quarterback, started one game in 1998 for the Atlanta Falcons at age 44 before being pulled early, per Tallent.
Brady is months away from entering unprecedented territory for NFL quarterbacks.
“It’s a physical sport; anything could happen,” Brady told Epstein. “So I’m going to go out there this year and give everything I’ve got like I’ve done every other year, and then take it from there.”