Tom Brady is about to complete his 19th NFL regular season Sunday and will then embark on yet another playoff run.
But even though he’d turn 42 before the start of next season, he offered a clear indication that he expects to be back — and potentially for many years to come.
“I absolutely believe I will,” Brady said Monday night in a radio interview with Westwood One when asked if he planned to continue his career. “I know I’ve talked about it for a long time. I have goals to not only play next year, but beyond that. And I’m going to try to do it as best I possibly can. I’m going to give it everything I have, like I always have. It will certainly be a challenge. I don’t take any of these things for granted, but I hope I can keep playing, and I hope I can keep playing at a championship level.”
This season has been somewhat of a challenge for Brady. Though he has produced solid numbers, New England’s passing offense doesn’t look as crisp and efficient as it typically does. On occasion, he’s misfired on passes he normally would complete with ease.
Brady, the NFL MVP in 2017, has connected this year on 65.4 percent of his passes for 4,105 yards with 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions — the most picks he has thrown since 2013. His quarterback rating of 95.4 is also the lowest since an 87.3 mark, also in 2013.
“I’ve been able to be in a career for 19 years that I love,” Brady said. “And I wake up every day excited to go to work. And I wake up every day fulfilled with what I’m doing. I don’t think there’s any greater gift in my life than to have that. Along with that has come a lot of other very cool opportunities, but in my heart and soul, I love playing the sport of football. And it’s brought me so much joy in my life.
“It tests you in so many ways. I’ve been dealing with it for a long time. There’s anxiousness and nerves, and there’s joy and happiness, there’s disappointment and frustration. The emotions run the gamut. But if you can stay and build your mental toughness, it has just been incredibly rewarding. And I’m a very, very lucky man.”
Brady has appeared on the injury report with a left knee issue and was removed late in last week’s 24-12 victory against the Bills, perhaps to give him additional rest. However he downplayed the notion that the knee is affecting his play.
“I’m feeling really good,” Brady said. “It’s been 15 weeks of football, and there’s always bumps and bruises you deal with. But I’m feeling great for this time of year. I’ll take it every year to be feeling as good as I am at this time of the season.”
The Patriots are 10-5 and still alive for the AFC’s No. 1 seed. To seize it, though, they would need to beat the Jets on Sunday and get help in the form of losses by both the Chiefs and Chargers.
Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes