The retirement speculation can finally be put to rest.
As expected, Tom Brady announced that he will return for the 2018 NFL season.
The five-time Super Bowl champion confirmed just that Monday while making an appearance at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills. There, the 40-year-old Hall of Fame-bound quarterback explained part of the reason that he’ll be back for his 19th season.
"I have personal goals. I want to keep playing,” Brady told Jim Gray as part of the conversation, as reported by ESPN. “I've said for a long time I want to play to my mid-40s. I was told three years, when I was 36-37, 'You can't keep playing; no one wins Super Bowls [at that age].' It's a great challenge for me. I think I've been challenged my whole life. I feel like I can do it."
He added: "I have a great system in place (referring to his TB12 Training Method) that works well for me in order to keep me performing at my highest level. What I want to do in the meantime is I want to inspire people through my action. Not tell them what to do, but just show it."
In giving his confirmation that he’ll be returning once again for another season in the pocket for the New England Patriots, Brady also explained why he didn’t rush to make that announcement earlier into this offseason.
"Part of this offseason for me is certainly about still preparing for what's ahead in my next journey, my next mountain to climb with this group of teammates, but it's also [acknowledging] that a lot of people are getting the short end of the stick in my life — certainly my wife and my kids," Brady said, as reported by ESPN.
He continued: "Football is year-round for me. It's a lot of thought, a lot of energy and emotion put into it, but I need to invest in them, too. My kids are 10, 8 and 5. They're not getting younger, so I need to take time so I can be available to them, too. ... I've really spent the last two or three months doing those things, and I think I'm really trying to fill my tank up so that when I do go back, I can go back and I think I'll actually be, in my mind, a better player, a better teammate, because I'll be really rejuvenated."
That being said, while speaking with Gray, Brady also took the time to quell rumored reports about there being a possible rift between him and longtime Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
“We've had a great relationship, a very respectful relationship for a long time,” Brady said, as reported by ESPN. “I feel like he's the best coach in the history of the NFL. He has a management style [with] players, and he would say, 'Look, I'm not the easiest coach to play for.' I agree. He's not the easiest coach to play for. But he's the best for me. I think what he's proven is that whatever talent he has, he maximizes his talent. What more could you ask of a coach than that? That's what I want as a player.”
When Gray asked Brady whether Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft appreciate him, though, the veteran QB offered up this response, generating laughs from the audience.
Brady didn’t show any signs of slowing down last year. He threw for an 2017 NFL season-high 4,577 yards and was amongst the QB league leaders with 32 touchdowns, earning his third career league MVP. Brady also led the Patriots back to the Super Bowl, before they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles.
When the 2018 season kicks off, Brady will be 41. What kind of season are you expecting from him and the Patriots?