Tom Brady will turn 40 in August, and while he’s not sure how much longer he’ll keep playing, he knows it will be beyond next season.
“I’d like to play until my mid-40s,” Brady told Peter King of The MMQB. “Then I’ll make a decision. If I’m still feeling like I’m feeling today, who knows?
“Now, those things can always change. You do need long-term goals too. I know next year is not going to be my last year.”
Brady believes he will be able to keep playing as long as he sticks to his strict diet and workout routine. While sacrifices have been made, they are all worth it if that’s what keeps Brady on the field.
“Other than playing football, the other thing I love to do is prepare to play football,” said Brady. “I’ve worked hard to get a system in place that really works for me and I know could work for everybody else if they just did it.
“That enables me to play 99 plays [in Super Bowl LI, the most of his career in one game] as a 39-year-old in the last game of the season . . . Football to me is more than just a sport. It has become my life. Every choice that I make . . . what I have for breakfast, how I work out, all of those things. I love the game. I love playing.”
Brady hopes to finish his career with the Patriots, but acknowledges it’s not something he can control.
“I don’t ever want to play for another coach,” said Brady. “I don’t want to play for another owner. But this is professional sports. I’ve seen some of the best players I’ve ever played with on other teams.
“I’ve seen Jerry Rice play for the Raiders, Joe Montana play for the Chiefs, Brett Favre play for a lot of teams. You never know. That’s why I want to keep taking care of what I need to take care of.
The subject of Deflategate came up, specifically how he was able to return from a four-game suspension “in a placid way” (King’s choice of words).
“There’s only one fight I can win and that is how well I play,” said Brady. “That’s the only one I can control, because I tried to play for 18 months and it didn’t work. So finally I said . . . ‘My team is going to go out and play great, I know they are going to, and when I come back, I am just going to do what I’ve always done.’ ”
Brady got emotional when talking about his mother, Galynn, who is being treated for cancer.
“It’s been a very challenging year for our family,” he said. “You have parents that are going through what they are going through, and my mom is not the only one going through it. My dad is going through it at the same time, taking such good care of my mom. And my dad needing the support of my sisters, that I couldn’t give when I’m in Boston.
“So my sisters are the ones that are taking care of my mom, and my dad is there taking care of my mom. And we are so used to these football seasons where my sisters will come back for games with my nieces, and my parents will come back for almost every game and they get to see my kids, and this year it was all FaceTime. I kept saying, ‘Mom, don’t you worry, we are going to be in Houston, we are going to make sure you come to that one.’ ”