“I’d like to play until my mid-40s,” he told me. “Then I’ll make a decision. If I’m still feeling like I’m feeling today, who knows? Now, those things can always change. You do need long-term goals too. I know next year is not going to be my last year.”
That gives Brady at least another three-to-five years. On one hand, there's no reason to believe Brady is going to slow down any time soon. On the other, though, Father Time eventually catches up with everyone.
But when you're 39 and just led an improbably Super Bowl comeback, and also set an NFL record for touchdown-to-interception ratios (28 to 2), the former is probably truer than the latter.
Brady's life is football. When he's not playing it, he's preparing for it even when there are no games.
“Other than playing football,” Brady said, “the other thing I love to do is prepare to play football. I've worked hard to get a system in place that really works for me and I know could work for everybody else if they just did it. That enables me to play 99 plays [in Super Bowl 51, the most of his career in one game] as a 39-year-old in the last game of the season … Football to me is more than just a sport. It has become my life. Every choice that I make … what I have for breakfast, how I work out, all of those things. I love the game. I love playing.”
Brady is a first-ballot hall-of-famer and the unquestioned greatest quarterback of all time. When he is eventually enshrined in Canton, Ohio one day, he'll have tons of support. Hopefully one of his supporters will be former Dolphins linebacker Jason Taylor.
Brady wrote a letter of endorsement for Taylor to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, calling him tenacious and one of the toughest players to play against.
Taylor did not get in this year, but he definitely will. The best part of Brady's letter is that Taylor didn't ask him to write it.
"You know what the beauty of that is? I didn’t even ask Tom for it.
Taylor said he and Brady are very good friends and that he was shocked when he found out Brady endorsed him.
"He and I had a great friendship throughout our playing days. Obviously, we played against each other a ton. I probably played 25 or 26 games against Tommy … maybe more, I don’t even know the number of games. We’ve always had this healthy rivalry between the two of us. We would go at it, compete hard and we were great friends off the field.
"I was floored when I saw the letter. I really was. Seth Levit, the director of my foundation (the Jason Taylor Foundation) and office here in Florida, actually texted me that Tom had sent a letter in. I guess Seth had been talking to the people in New England and got the letter down here, and I was floored. It means the world to me.
Another classy move by Brady. Tell me again why so many people hate him?