Tom Brady has said he plans to play in the NFL until he's 50, but a new report from ESPN suggests there's at least a small chance he won't even play at 41.
According to Adam Schefter, the New England Patriots superstar, who was 40 for all of last season, hasn't "committed to playing in 2018." Schefter follows that by saying that people close to Brady expect him to suit up 2018 anyway.
There's no question that Brady wants to play football, but he turns 41 in August, wants to spend more time with his family, and there are people around him who would rather see him retire, sources told ESPN.
If people around Brady expect him to play in 2018, why was this story written in the first place? It's not as if players are expected to publicly state their intention to continue playing each off-season. Usually, unless they say they're retiring, we expect to see them back out on the field.
One possibility is that Brady or those around him planted the story as the latest volley in the on-going battle between him and the Patriots. The typically drama-free clubhouse in Foxboro has been anything but this off-season.
Days before Schefter's report, we learned that Brady is sitting out offseason workouts. The reason is not clear, but NFL.com's Ian Rapapaport reported that it's related to the dispute between the Patriots and Brady over his controversial trainer Alex Guerrero. Earlier this year, ESPN reported that Brady's reliance on Guerrero and his TB12 method has created a rift between the quarterback and head coach Bill Belichick.
NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran has also linked Brady's absence to his fracturing relationship with Belichick. Curran writes that Brady is leading a "pushback" against the corrosive culture that Belichick has become known, and been widely praised for.
It's the same culture that has resulted in five Super Bowl wins, but Curran writes that as Brady gets old, he wants to have a bit more fun on the field. Fun is not something Belichick is known for.
The head coach's schtick is also wearing on other players, as some who've left New England this off-season have made clear. Former Pats wide out Danny Amendola, for one, made his displeasure with Belichick known after he joined the Dolphins.
"It's not easy, that's for sure. He's an asshole sometimes. There were a lot of things I didn't like about playing for him," Amendola said before admitting that the things he didn't like were the things that made the team better. "I didn't like practicing in the snow, I didn't like practicing in the rain, but that was going to make us a better football team and that was going to make me a better football player."