Can Tom Brady realistically play 6-7 more years?

According to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, quarterback Tom Brady — already the oldest position player in the NFL at 39, and he won’t play another game until he’s 40 — isn’t planning on walking away from the game until he’s closer to 50 than 40.

“As recently as 2-3 days ago, he assured me he’d be willing to play six to seven more years and at the level he performed,” Kraft said Monday at the NFL’s annual meeting, per ESPN.com. “There’s no one that would be happier than I, and our fan base.”

That’s cool and all, but is it realistic?

Well, six more years would mean Brady would have to play effectively through his age-45 season. This is a list of players who have thrown at least one NFL pass after turning 45…

1. George Blanda

Blanda was no longer a regular quarterback when he threw 15 passes as a 45-year-old in 1972. It’s funny, 11 of those 15 came on Sept. 17 — his 45th birthday. A full-time kicker at that point, he threw four passes in relief later that year and seven more over the course of the next three seasons. But Blanda’s last start as a signal caller came four years earlier in 1968, when he was “just” 41.

The oldest quarterback ever to start an NFL game was Steve DeBerg, who was still three months short of his 45th birthday when he filled in for Chris Chandler for a single game in 1998. Vinny Testaverde made three starts soon after turning 44 in 2007, and Warren Moon made one start a week after his 44th birthday in 2000.

Nobody else has thrown a single pass at or beyond the age of 44, which Brady will arrive at in just four years.

Heck, only three others — Doug Flutie, Earl Morrall and Lou Groza — ever threw passes at or beyond the age of 42. Even Brett Favre and Mark Brunell were done at 41.

So no, it’s probably not realistic. But nor is it realistic for a 199th overall pick who looks like this to become the most decorated player in the history of professional football. I think we’ve all learned not to bet against that dude.

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at CBSSports.com, Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.

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