Yet again, Tom Brady has affirmed his commitment to playing in 2018—albeit less definitively than he has in the past.
"I expect to be back, but we'll see," the New England Patriots quarterback told reporters following their 41-33 Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. "It's 15 minutes after the game ended. Have to process this a little bit. Don't see why I wouldn't be back."
Brady threw for a Super Bowl record 505 yards and added three touchdowns, but Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham strip-sacked him on the biggest play of the game.
The fumble allowed the Eagles to drain the Patriots of their timeouts and extend their lead to eight, and Brady was left with less than a minute and 91 yards to go on New England's final drive.
A last-ditch Hail Mary fell incomplete as time expired.
Brady, 40, became the oldest MVP in NFL history this season. He threw for 4,577 yards and 32 touchdowns while leading the Patriots to an eighth Super Bowl appearance under his watch (10th overall), extending the record he already held for most by a player in league history. His five Super Bowl victories are the most for a quarterback and tied with Charles Haley for the most by a player.
Despite repeated public statements that he plans to play next season, Brady's future has been the subject of speculation due to his age.
"Why does everyone want me to retire so bad? I'm having fun, the team is doing good. I know I'm a little bit older than most of the guys, but I'm really enjoying it. ... So I'm not thinking about retirement," Brady said.
Another factor is Brady's relationship with coach Bill Belichick.
Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com detailed a festering resentment and tension between the two pillars of the Patriots dynasty and, to a certain extent, owner Robert Kraft, with their nearly two decades of success starting to fray at the edges. At the center of much of the friction is trainer Alex Guerrero, whose influence has grown in the quarterback's life.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the pair are expected to meet this week and "hash out" their issues.
Brady is under contract through the 2019 season.