Tom Brady has fought off Father Time better than any player in NFL history, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers star is well aware the sand in the hourglass is slowly running out.
The 44-year-old told Dan Patrick on Wednesday he might be "part-crazy" for wanting to continue to play. However, he acknowledged his competitive drive is finite.
"Forty-five years old and I'm out here with a lot of young guys that are trying to take my head off," he said. "And I see Aaron Donald work out on my Instagram, I'm like, 'Damn, maybe I should've retired.' ... I had the appetite to compete. It's gonna be gone soon, there's no doubt about it. I gotta really appreciate the time I have left."
Dan Patrick Show @dpshow
"Time went by and you just get super competitive. I think I'm part crazy."<br><br>-<a href="https://twitter.com/TomBrady?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TomBrady</a> shares why he decided to come out of retirement. And discusses his mind set with transitioning to the booth after his career on the field is over <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bucs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bucs</a><br><br>Full interview: <a href="https://t.co/YreaXevZJT">https://t.co/YreaXevZJT</a> <a href="https://t.co/OxpjGg8lB1">pic.twitter.com/OxpjGg8lB1</a>
Following Capital One's The Match on June 1, Brady acknowledged he was "like 55 percent yes and 45 percent no" in terms of commitment to football as he was contemplating whether to return for a 23rd season.
The 15-time Pro Bowler addressed the subject again during a June 9 press conference. He told reporters how figuring out any short-term career plans becomes "very challenging when you’re 43 or 44 because there’s a lot of other things that are pressing and a lot of other things that are really important in your life."
Brady continued to play at a high level in 2021. He led the league in passing yards (5,316) and touchdowns (43), and his 312.7 yards per game were the highest of his career.
His legacy is secured at this point, though, and he has checked off every box he can over his legendary career. He's a seven-time champion, three-time MVP and the greatest QB in NFL history.
Even for somebody as driven as Brady, subjecting yourself to the punishment of an NFL season stops being worth it at some point.
While Brady hasn't said this will be his last season, nobody will be surprised if he walks away—for good this time—when the 2022 season ends. He has already lined up his next move, too, with the New York Post's Andrew Marchand reporting he agreed to a 10-year, $375 million deal with Fox Sports.