New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has done things no other player at his position has ever done before. Over the course of his 17-year career the future Hall of Famer has become the most decorated player in NFL history. And despite turning 40 in August, he is eager to add to his already impressive résumé.
On multiple occasions, Brady has made it clear that he plans on playing until at least his mid-forties and that he only will retire when he "sucks". Today, Patriots owner Robert Kraft doubled down on his quarterback’s plans. During a media Q&A session at this week’s owner meetings, Kraft was asked how long he expected Brady to continue playing.
Kraft’s response was telling:
As recently as two, three days ago, he assured me he’d be willing to play six, seven more years. At the level he performed, there is no one that would be happier than I... and our fanbase.
Only seven players in pro football history have played beyond their 45th birthday. Of those seven, only two were pure non-kickers: John Nesser, an offensive lineman for the Columbus Panhandles, and Bobby Marshall, who played end for the Duluth Kelleys. They were born in 1876 and 1880, respectively.
In case he really continues to play six or seven more years, Brady would also be in close distance to reach the oldest professional football player ever: George Blanda. The Hall of Famer, who served as a kicker and backup quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, retired in 1975 at the age of 48.
Whether Brady will actually come close to playing as long as Blanda, who retired after 26 seasons, remains to be seen. Given his work ethic and the way he looks after his body, though, it would not be a surprise to see the greatest quarterback of all time continue to play at a high level for the next few years – and as he has done throughout his career, re-write NFL history along the way.