FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Entering his 19th season playing for Bill Belichick, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said the two are aligned as they begin the quest for a sixth Super Bowl championship.
"I think our priorities are the same that they've always been, and I think that's why we get along so well. We're here to win," Brady said Tuesday morning in his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI. "It's been a very professional environment he's created, and I think I'm very lucky to be in that environment. I think he's the best coach who ever coached in the NFL, and I feel very privileged to kind of be mentored by him as long as I have."
On Monday, Belichick echoed Brady's remarks while noting that any relationship evolves over 19 years.
"We still do basically the same things we've done for quite a period of time now. I don't see that changing," Belichick said on WEEI. "I have a good relationship with Tom. I have a lot of respect for Tom. We've won a lot of games together, and I hope we can win some more together. I know he feels the same way."
The relationship between Brady and Belichick became a topic of heightened interest late last season when ESPN reported on friction between the star quarterback and the longtime coach, stemming from Brady's ties to trainer Alex Guerrero.
The Patriots added $5 million in incentives to Brady's contract last week, while converting $10 million of his base salary to a signing bonus. In doing so, it kept Brady's salary-cap charge at $22 million for the 2018 season while upping it to $27 million in 2019, which is the last year of the contract.
Asked whether he was happy with the change, Brady said on WEEI, "I've never talked about my contract, and that's never been the top priority for me. I love being here, this community, this organization. I love winning, and I love that my family has had a home for a long time. Those have been my priorities as long as I've been in this game."
As for his future, he said, "I certainly expect to be here next year and hopefully beyond. I have goals to play for a long time. I still love doing it. I still want to do it. But I'm also focused on what I need to do this year. It's a tough challenge, and it's a great challenge. I've loved it for a long time, and I still want to get out there and be the best I can be for our team."
Asked whether he plans to play in 2020, Brady said on WEEI, "I hope so. You gotta have goals for the long term and short term, and I have long-term goals that I set for myself that I would love to be able to accomplish. I know it's not easy. Any one game could be the end; at the end of the day, I think that's what you realize as a player.
"I've played with a lot of guys, and sure, you have goals, but at the same time, it's a physical sport, it's a demolition derby. You never know when you're going to come out of it. I'm always trying to take good care of myself, I'm always trying to put myself in a position where I can execute my job and take the hits and perform well. I think I've got a really great routine, and I'd like to continue to show that I can do it."
Brady, who had been managing a sore back, didn't play in last Thursday's preseason opener against the Washington Redskins. His workload in practice has picked up in recent days.
"I'm doing well. I'm doing really well. You just always have little things you're working through -- that's part of football season -- but I feel really good," he said on WEEI.
Asked whether he plans on playing in Thursday's preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, he said, "Absolutely."