Much has been made about how long Tom Brady has left as quarterback of the Patriots, and it was a topic two old friends joked about Friday on the set of "SportsCenter" at New England Patriots training camp.
Longtime Patriot and current ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi said he thought Brady, who turns 37 on Sunday and is signed through 2017 (when he will be 40), can play until he is 41.
Here’s the fun back-and-forth that played out on the air:
Bruschi: “I’m giving him four [more seasons].”
Bruschi: “Four is realistic.”
Brady: “You’re out of your mind.”
Bruschi: “Oh yeah?”
But when the conversation got slightly more serious, Brady would not make a prediction as to how many more years he’d play. He is headed into his 15th season in the NFL.
“The most important one is this year, because that’s all we have,” Brady said.
He was asked by host Hannah Storm how he maintains his level of intensity and commitment after all these years in the league.
“A lot of luck,” he said. “And a lot of great education from some really important people in my life that have taught me how to take care of myself, how to prepare myself mentally and physically for 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; I want to play for a long time. There’s nothing else I’d rather do. I make a commitment in the season and the offseason to do that. It’s a fun thing for me. It’s not like working out is a very hard thing, coming out and playing football in the middle of May is a hard thing. I love doing it.
“Hopefully I do it for a long time. Hopefully for longer than the four years over here that my buddy wants me to play.”
A few more highlights from Brady’s "SportsCenter" interview, a clip of which can be seen above.
On seeing Rob Gronkowski back on the field, even if he’s not fully participating yet -- “Last year he didn’t really even have [partial participation]. Just for him to be out here -- making plays in individual drills and routes on air when you can see the kind of dynamic player that he is and that he has always been for this team -- that’s a big boost for our offense. It’s exciting to see him out there.
“It’s exciting to see guys like Julian and Danny out making playing plays. [Kenbrell Thompkins] has made a lot of plays over the last couple days. That’s what it takes to be a good offense, you’re not open by 20 yards on every play. You’ve got to make tough catches in tight areas.”
On the progress of rookie receivers from last year to this year -- “As an offense at this time last year, we really didn’t know where we were at. I think it’s a real benefit to our offense knowing what guys are capable of, knowing the skill set they have to compete at an NFL level.
“That’s the difference between a rookie year and a second year. Guys have done it, proved it, and now you have confidence going into the next season that we’re actually good at some things. And those are the things you want to build on. “