Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is unsure if he will be able to play at the age of 45, but said his aim is to replicate Tom Brady by playing at the highest level for as long as possible.
The Chiefs travel to Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, where Mahomes will come up against his legendary counterpart for the first time since the Bucs beat Kansas City at Super Bowl LV.
Brady is the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards (85,193) and touchdown passes (627), while he also led the league in passing yards (5,316) and TD passes (43) last season.
Speaking ahead of Sunday's clash at Raymond James Stadium, Mahomes said he wants to emulate the 45-year-old – who retired at the end of last season before changing his mind – by maintaining a high level for as long as possible.
"I want to play as long as I can play, and I can still have a chance to help the team get better," he said.
"Obviously, it's hard to play until you're 45 years old, and I don't want to be out there just hanging on. You see what Tom is – he's still playing at a very high level.
"I think that's why it's hard for him to kind of give it up – when you're playing at a high level you don't want to leave it.
"For me, I'm going to try to keep my body in the best shape possible and as long as they'll let me play and I can play at a high level, I'll be out there."
Mahomes was fourth in the league for passing yards in 2021 (4,839) and tied fourth for TD passes (37), and credited the impact Brady continues to have in the NFL.
"It's special to see the things that he's done in this league," the 27-year-old added. "The way he was able to change the position, the longevity of great success – I mean that's the crazy part – you look at his career and there's never really been a down year.
"He's always been great and had a great season and found ways to get even better.
"He's done stuff off the field that hasn't impacted him on the field, but still made his legacy even greater, so it's always a great opportunity for me and our team to go up against a great quarterback and really [see] where our team is at."