The question of how long Tom Brady will play football is one of the most asked around the NFL these days. The 44-year-old surprised many by leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win last year and all signs point to him being able to possibly do it again this year. As he prepares to take on the New England Patriots this weekend, a lot of people want to talk about his legacy, even if Brady doesn’t sound like the kind of guy interested in talking about that just yet.
Recently, Brady somewhat jokingly said he might play until he’s 50, but if you’re looking for a more realistic answer as to when Touchdown Tom might consider hanging the cleats up, he gets a bit more candid in an interview with Wall Street Journal Magazine this week.
After noting that he has a contract that runs through 2022, he’s not 100% sure how much longer he’ll play but he sure seems like he intends to keep going.
“Beyond that, I don’t know,” Brady said. “Maybe it’s another year after that; maybe it’s two. I’ll have to see where I’m at with my family. That’s probably the overriding factor — what I’m missing out on.”
“I don’t want to be out there and suck. You think I want to go out there and look like I’m 44 years old? I want to look like I’m in my prime.”
As for what he’ll do when the time comes to retire, he doesn’t seem sure he’ll find anything that makes him feel like football so he intends to keep that feeling alive as long as possible.
“I don’t think anything will match my football career,” Brady said. “I think it’s too hard to replicate that level of energy and output and adrenaline. That’s kind of why I want to go until the end, because I want to make sure I don’t look back and go, ‘Man, I could still do it.’”
Of course, Brady is assuming he maintains control over how his NFL career will end. Very few players have that luxury. But assuming injuries don’t cause him to retire sooner, Brady has a good chance to leave on his own terms and that’s the best anyone can ask for.