There’s not much else that a 44-year-old quarterback can accomplish—especially when his name is Tom Brady.

The man has poured his blood, sweat and tears into the game of football for the past two decades and earned seven Super Bowl rings, five Super Bowl MVPs, three league MVPs, 15 Pro Bowler selections and many more accolades in the process.

It’s not like he’s been hanging on, either. Brady finished the 2021 campaign with 5,316 yards, 43 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. The season ended a tad early for his liking, but it’s certainly nothing to scoff at.

Now it appears that the man who has said he’d like to play until he’s 45 may be calling it quits at age 44. On his Let’s Go! podcast with Jim Gray, Brady went into depth about his playing career and how it affects his personal life.

“I think as I’ve gotten older, I think the best part is, is football is extremely important in my life, and it means a lot to me, and I care a lot about what we’re trying to accomplish as a team and I care a lot about my teammates,” he said. “The biggest difference now that I’m older is I have kids now, too, you know, and I care about them a lot as well. They’ve been my biggest supporters. My wife is my biggest supporter. It pains her to see me get hit out there. And she deserves what she needs from me as a husband, and my kids deserve what they need from me as a dad.

“I’m gonna spend some time with them and give them what they need, ’cause they’ve really been giving me what I need the last six months to do what I love to do. I said this a few years ago, it’s what relationships are all about. It’s not always what I want. It’s what we want as a family. And I’m gonna spend a lot of time with them and figure out in the future what’s next.”

Brady has three kids either in or approaching their teenage years, and, of course, his wife Gisele Bundchen.

“I would say I’m proud and satisfied of everything we accomplished this year, so I know when I give it my all, that’s something to be proud of,” Brady said. “And I’ve literally given everything I had this year, last year, the year before that, the year before that. Like, I don’t leave anything half-ass, you know? I think I leave it with everything that I have. My physical being, I work really hard on that. I feel like I give everything I can to my teammates. Although, it is divided attention as you get older, ’cause there’s different priorities and responsibilities in life. And, you know, I have things happening outside of football that require some time and energy.

“Every year I just have to make sure that I have the ability to commit to what the team really needs, and that’s really important to me. The team doesn’t deserve anything less than my best. And if I feel like I’m not committed to that, or I can’t play at a championship level, then you gotta give someone else a chance to play. And, you know, we’ll see. There’s a long time between now and the start of next football season. I’ve gotta really figure those things out, which is probably natural for anyone. And at the same time, I would say this, we never know what’s gonna happen in the future. We really don’t. I mean, Kobe Bryant, a friend of ours, God rest his soul. You think you’re gonna live forever. We’re not. We think we’re gonna play forever. We’re not. What can we do? We can enjoy the moments that we have.

“As challenging as the season was, I was glad I played and glad I participated, ’cause I’m living my life and I’m not just counting the days. So my days are meaningful to me. I’m gonna try to keep ’em meaningful to me. And, you know, in the meantime I’m gonna do as best I can to enjoy, you know, the time that I have not playing football. ‘Cause that’s equally important. Playing football I get so much joy from. I love it. But not playing football, there’s a lot of joy in that for me also now, too, with my kids getting older and seeing them develop and grow. So all these things need to be considered and they will be. And, you know, the funny part is always that most guys retire and then move to Florida. I’m already in Florida. So it’s really confusing, even to me.”

If he does decide to come back for another go ‘round, he doesn’t want a “farewell tour.”

“I think that would be distracting for me,” he said. “My enjoyment comes from not a recognition of kind of what I’ve accomplished as a player in the league—my enjoyment comes from the competition. More so than anything, even yesterday, I was thinking about competing. I was thinking about, this whole year, about competing. I wasn’t thinking about anything other than that.

“So when the time comes to think about post-career and second career, I’ll think about those things. It’s just when you’re 44, I guess you get asked about that a lot. And a lot of people thought I was done playing football in 2015. A lot of people in 2016 said, ‘You’re done.’ A lot of people in 2018, and when I left the Patriots, they said, ‘You’re done.’”

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