FOXBORO – An offseason media chew toy has been handicapping when Tom Brady hangs ‘em up.
There are two general camps. He wraps before the end of his current contract. He wraps at the end of his current contract.
There’s a third camp. A tiny camp. Few people consider it.
Brady’s in that one.
Friday, Brady stopped by the ESPN set to talk with Tedy Bruschi and Hannah Storm.
In talking about Brady’s future, here’s how the conversation went.
STORM: “Tedy said that he has full expectation that you could play until you’re 41...”
BRUSCHI: “I’m giving him four...”
BRADY: “FOUR?! You’re out of your mind.”
BRADY: [Smiling] “We can make a bet on when...”
With that, Brady applied the brakes.
Storm pressed on, saying, “Are you thinking more or less?”
Brady backed away saying, “Well, the most important one is this year, so...”
In fact, Brady hopes to play into his mid-40s. Whether he does so or not is dependent on a so many factors, it’s not worth guessing. But that is his intention.
Brady’s conditioning regimen in the offseason which focuses on flexibility, core strength and building strength with resistance bands has been the key, he indicated.
Asked how he maintains his physical edge, Brady said, “A lot of luck and a lot of great education from some really important people in my life that have taught me how to take care of myself and how to prepare myself mentally and physically from what we’re up against. It’s probably not what a lot of people do, it’s probably not the norm for most players but it’s what’s worked for me. I made a commitment to myself because I love the game and want to play for a long time. I make a commitment in the season and the offseason.”
Later in the interview, Bruschi asked Brady if the defense needed to play a bigger role in winning games.
“Josh [McDaniels] and I were talking the other day and when we had our 21-game win streak [in 2003-2004] we averaged 23 points a game on offense,” Brady recalled. “Josh and I would kill each other if we were averaging 23 points a game [now]. We have high expectations and the defensive players have high expectations. And it has to be good situationally. You have to be able to come through when it matters most. If you gotta stop 'em or you gotta go down the field and score the points, that’s what you have to do to win.”
Training camp, Brady said, isn’t the start of the competition either.
“The pressure’s on,” he told Storm. “The competition started months ago and guys established themselves in their particular role and now they have to start improving in that role. Coach Belichick always says, ‘You’re gonna earn it on this team. Your role is what you make it.’ Different guys will get different opportunities. If you take advantage of it, you’ll get another one. If you don’t, it’s gonna be hard to get another one. It’s a great culture that we’ve got here. Every day, you earn it.”