Tom Brady reaffirms relationship with Bill Belichick, hints he still wants to play until age 45
While Tom Brady's future has been in some question for the past five years or so--after all, the quarterback is almost 41 now--it feels like this offseason has represented a particular crossroads. Coming off a Super Bowl loss, dealing with intense media coverage about cracks in his relationship with Bill Belichick, and facing additional scrutiny for not attending "voluntary" OTAs have all made Brady's offseason drama-filled. Over the weekend, however, Brady sat down with Oprah Winfrey to clear up some of the chatter surrounding him and Belichick.
I mean, I love (Belichick). I love that he's an incredible coach, mentor for me. And he's pushed me in a lot of ways. Like everything, we don't agree on absolutely everything. But that's relationships...We've always had a great relationship. I've been here for a long time and I love this team, I love this organization and I love playing quarterback for him. I loved it last year. I'm having a lot of fun now so that's obviously what's most important to me."
It was a pretty clear rejection of all the negative coverage that swirled around the team last season, including criticism of Belichick's decision to trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers and his controversial call to bench Malcolm Butler for nearly the entire Super Bowl. While Brady has been the quintessential "loyal soldier" throughout his career, some cracks in that stoic facade appeared this offseason--as mentioned above, he skipped OTAs while hanging in Monaco, and publicly voiced his support for Butler as a teammate on social media following the Super Bowl LII loss. In speaking with Oprah and definitively saying that skipping OTAs was "not at all" related to Belichick, TB12 made a genuine attempt to patch over the rumored discontent and get focused for the upcoming season.
On a similar note, Brady also coyly confirmed his desire to play until age 45 on social media. Replying to an ESPN tweet quoting his statement about retirement coming "sooner rather than later," Brady said "Cuarenta y cinco"--"Forty-five" in Spanish.
The attached emojis may have added a bit of tongue-in-cheek flavor to the reply, it was still a public affirmation of his previous goal. Fans should be able to rest a bit easier knowing that Brady is still committed to four more years in the NFL.