New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady still has not committed to playing in 2018, even though people who know him believe he will be back for the coming season, league sources told ESPN on Wednesday.
The lack of any official word from Brady, either privately or publicly, has left some to admit that, while they do believe he will play in 2018, they cannot say that for sure.
"My money would be on him playing football for the foreseeable future, but what goes on away from the football field, I don't know," one source told ESPN. "I don't know."
There's no question that Brady wants to play football, but he turns 41 in August and wants to spend more time with his family, and there are people around him who would rather see him retire, sources told ESPN.
Even those who expect him to play know there are circumstances that do not make it automatic that he will return.
"I believe he's going to be there," another person who knows Brady told ESPN. "However, having said that, we're dealing with a human being. Things can change. But I do believe he will be playing."
Brady also was not present for the start of New England's offseason program, and he's not expected to take part much, if at all. It's not the first time he has missed part of the offseason program; it also happened in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
The five-time Super Bowl champion and three-time NFL MVP is planning to spend more time this offseason with body coach Alex Guerrero. Brady has talked about wanting to play until he is 45, and the Patriots believed in him so much that they traded quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers last October.
While Brady stays away -- he was in Qatar over the weekend -- New England is carrying on without him. Even in the seemingly unlikely event that Brady were to retire this offseason, New England's plans at the quarterback position would not be radically altered.
A lack of clarity from Brady won't change New England's need at the position, but it could affect how aggressive the Patriots will be in acquiring one. The Patriots have been examining options in next week's draft, and many around the league believe New England -- armed with two first-round picks and two second-round picks -- will use one of its high picks on a quarterback.
Other than Brady, the only other quarterback on the Patriots' active roster is veteran Brian Hoyer, who signed a three-year deal with the team after the trade deadline last season.