In February, at the age of 39, Tom Brady won his fifth Super Bowl. According to the New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, there could be a few more to come.
“As recently as two to three days ago, [Brady] assured me he’d be willing to play six to seven more years and at the level he performed,” Kraft said on Monday at the NFL’s annual meeting. “There’s no one that would be happier than I, and our fan base.”
Brady has shown few signs of slowing down with age and recorded a passer rating of 112.2 last season, the second best of his 17-year career. The quarterback is known for his freakish discipline and commitment to a healthy lifestyle: last month his personal chef said Brady does not consume sugar, coffee, dairy or caffeine and only has tomatoes once a month as a precaution against inflammation. Kraft agreed that Brady’s discipline has been crucial in his long career.
“I remember after our first Super Bowl in ‘01, going down in the training room in the old Foxboro Stadium, three days after we won, he’s in there with the music blaring working out,” said Kraft. “He’s really dedicated. The thing that’s amazing about him, to this day he hasn’t changed as a human being in how he relates to people, but also how he works out. The only thing that’s probably changed is how he eats and his diet. I’m not sure avocado ice cream is right for me, but if I could look like him and perform half as well, I guess I’d do it.”
If Brady played well into his 40s, he would not be the first quarterback to do so. Vinny Testaverde and Warren Moon both played until they were 44. Hall of Famer George Blanda did not retire until he was 48, but mainly took care of kicking duties later on in his career.
One man who may not be happy if Brady prolongs his career is his back-up. Jimmy Garoppolo would be 30 by the time Brady retires should Kraft’s projection prove true. Kraft would not be drawn on whether Garoppolo would be traded as a result.
“I charge [head coach Bill Belichick] to handle all football matters,” he said. “We’re privileged to have the greatest quarterback in the history of the game, and it looks like he’s playing pretty solid. He’s off the charts, in my opinion, and we’re lucky to have him. That’s the most important position on the team, needless to say. I don’t think anyone could say you have too much depth at that position. I’ve charged him to make those decisions. I’ll leave that with him.”
Brady turns 40 in August.