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Ex-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady claims he ‘almost retired’ at the age of 27

Related: Tom Brady becomes the first NFL quarterback to throw for 100,000 yards

Super Bowl XXXIX Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Tom Brady’s football career could have looked a lot different. Instead of him still going strong at the age of 45 and having seven Super Bowl rings in his collection, the greatest quarterback of all time almost cut his career short at the age of 27.

“When I was 27, I almost retired from the game of football because of elbow pain,” Brady said in a recent video posted by TB12 Sports on social media. “Now, I’m 45 years old, and I’m still here.”

How close he actually came to calling it a career can of course be questioned. The statement, after all, is part of a promotional video and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt.

That said, the mere concept of Brady retiring at 27 is a wild one. He turned 27 in August 2004 having just led the New England Patriots to a second championship in his three years as starting quarterback. The team would successfully defend its title that season, giving Brady three rings and a perfect 9-0 playoff record.

Had he retired at that point he would currently not be the owner of seemingly every record in the books. However, he still would have had a very strong case as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time — and as probably the greatest “What if...” story in NFL history.