Patriots president Jonathan Kraft says Tom Brady will decide when to call it quits

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- New England Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft said in an interview with NFL Network that quarterback Tom Brady will be given latitude to decide when he retires.

Brady, 40, led the NFL with 4,577 passing yards this season.

"I think [he] has earned the right to have that be a decision he makes when he wants to make it," Kraft told Andrea Kremer, when asked if he could envision a scenario in which he would have to tell Brady it's time to retire.

Owner Robert Kraft added, "Our intent is we have the best people in their respective positions and we keep them here for a very long time."

Asked what that latitude means to him, Brady responded with a touch of humor.

"Why does everyone want me to retire so bad? I'm having fun, the team is doing good," he later told reporters. "I know I'm a little bit older than most of the guys, but I'm really enjoying it. I obviously enjoy the experience of playing in this game. This has been obviously a dream come true, many times over. We had a good practice today and we're going to need a couple more good ones. We are playing against a good football team so I'm not thinking about retirement. I'm thinking about the Super Bowl and trying to win the most important game of the year and it's going to take a lot to do it.

"I always wanted to play into my mid 40's, so we will see. Football is such a physical sport and every game could be your last game, it's the reality of the sport so I'd love to plan for those things. I try to work hard at the things I need to for my body to feel good week after week and year after year. I've got a good routine that has really worked for me especially the last 10-12 years. As long as I feel like I'm willing to make the commitment to do those things then I feel like my body will allow me to do that. So that's what my goals are."

"It was asked, 'How do you tell Tom Brady he has to retire?' and Andrea obviously has to ask that question," Jonathan Kraft said on the team's website Thursday morning. "Forget Tom for a minute. I don't think you tell any player when they have to retire. I think if you play in the National Football League, that's a player's decision, and a lot goes in to whether or not you want to retire. It's personal. So it's not just Tom-related, but Tom is obviously on his own level in so many bases."

Brady's contract extends through the end of the 2019 season. He is on the verge of becoming the oldest non-kicker to play in a Super Bowl when the Patriots face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.