Tom Brady recently indicated to Patriots owner Robert Kraft that he wanted to play another 10 years.
But Brady’s also smart enough to know that’s not necessarily his call.
Brady, by virtue of his dozen years in the league, knows the time comes for every player, knows that he’s no exception, and that Bill Belichick won’t hesitate to pull the plug when the time comes.
“So I’m still working hard, doing my job, because that’s what he’s looking for,” Brady said of his boss, via Jarrett Bell of USA Today. “And the day that’s not what he’s looking for, there comes a time for everybody. I hope to make that decision hard on him for a very, very long time.”
The 35-year-old Brady is the longest-serving Patriot, and the second-longest-tenured starting quarterback in the league behind Denver’s Peyton Manning.
But when he sees things like the neck injury that kept Manning off the field a year ago, it reminds him he’s not immune to time or bad luck.
“Things always change quickly,” Brady said. “We’re certainly not entitled to anything in this league. And it’s always going to move on without us. That’s why you have to work hard at it. That’s why you’ve got to earn it, why you’ve got to appreciate it. And there’s some luck that plays into it.”
The knee injury that wiped out his 2008 season was the first reminder, which has him delaying thinking about when his career might end.
“I hope I play as long as possible,” Brady said. “I don’t know how long that’s going to be.
“Honestly, in ’08, when I had that knee injury, that really makes you appreciate what you’re doing on a daily basis. Because there was a year that I missed, and I was like, ‘Damn, I wish I was out there practicing every day.’ To not have that opportunity was very frustrating. I love the game.”
Part of the reason Brady has lasted as long as he has is his work, and attention to detail. And the fact he doesn’t take it for granted obviously plays a large part too.