Among all of the obstacles Tom Brady has overcome in his football career, he admits he can’t overcome aging forever.
“We’re coming to the end,” the Bucs quarterback said on HBO’s The Shop via Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. “It’s coming to the end.”
As Florio noted, the obvious statement that Brady, 43, will one day retire “has generated nearly as much buzz as anything else he said.” Brady entering his 22nd season makes his career easily one of the longest in NFL history.
It could go much longer as he could play through his 40s if he chooses to, which the Bucs will welcome.
“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 said on the Rich Eisen Show.
Brady doesn’t see it that way.
“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.”
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Brady on Track for Top 10 Oldest NFL Players Ever List
He will crack the top 10 list for oldest NFL players ever this season, knocking former Bucs quarterback Vinny Testaverde off the list. Testaverde’s career began in Tampa in 1987, and he made it to age 44 in his final NFL season in 2007 with the Carolina Panthers.
George Blanda became the oldest player in NFL history in 1976 at age 48 according to Athlon Sports’ Aaron Tallent. He played for the Oakland Raiders as a kicker at the time after previously playing quarterback.
Steve DeBerg played quarterback at 44 years, nine months, and six days per Tallent, which made the NFL journeyman the oldest to do so. DeBerg played for the Bucs from 1984 to 1987 and again in 1992 to 1993.
For Brady to ascend up the top of the list, he will need to play six more seasons. The Bucs have Brady under contract through the 2022 season, following the extension he signed shortly after the season.
Brady has consistently stated his goal of playing until age 45 but has expressed openness to playing beyond that age. Bucs general manager Jason Licht tested the limits, which he shared about on Rich Eisen’s radio show in May.
Brady Played With a Nagging Knee Issue in 2020
While Brady’s knees won’t force him to retire at this point, his knee issues from last season can’t go unnoticed.
“It’s a physical sport; anything could happen,” Brady told Epstein.
Brady didn’t reveal how significant his knee pain was during the 2020 season until afterward, and he had surgery on his knee after the Super Bowl. Recovery lasted four months before he began throwing again with Bucs receivers in unofficial workouts, and he practiced in the team’s minicamp.
His injury history looks promising going forward after playing 12-consecutive seasons without missing a game due to injury. He tore his ACL in 2008 with the Patriots and missed the season.