Is Tom Brady ready to call it a career after 18 seasons in the NFL?
Well, it depends on who you believe. Some say they wouldn’t be surprised if the five-time Super Bowl champion and future-lock Pro Football Hall of Famer retires before his 19th season in the league. Others say the 40-year-old quarterback not announcing that he’ll play football in 2018 just yetis merely a formality and that he might be plotting on a restructured contract with the New England Patriots.
The fact that Brady hasn’t gone on record yet to declare that he’s playing this upcoming 2018 NFL season sparked retirement rumors, which were only amplified when his former teammate, James Harrison, told TMZ Sports that “no,” he wouldn’t be surprised if the arguable GOAT QB retires.
“That’s up to Tom and what decisions he and his family make as far as what he wants to do, and if he does want to continue to play, what he’s willing to sacrifice and the family is willing to sacrifice,” Harrison told TMZ Sports on Wednesday.
A player with the legendary stature of Brady doesn’t need to immediately state publicly that he’s returning for his 19th NFL season. That’s why others believe that his return to the gridiron is just a formality.
A source with knowledge of Brady’s situation told NBC Sports’s Pro Football Talkthat the veteran quarterback has already made plans to link up with some of his teammates between the end of the Patriots’ offseason program and the beginning of the squad’s training camp to prepare for the 2018 season.
The NFL Network additionally reported Wednesday that Brady’s lack of going on the record to state his return for 2018 might have something to do with him wanting to revise his contract with the Patriots.
"It's not a pressing issue," the Network’s Mike Garafolo said on NFL Up to the Minute,as reported by NFL.com. "It's not anything that is contentious right now. But Brady would absolutely be interested in revisiting this contract."
That being said, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport fully expects Brady back for this season.
"Tom Brady is going to play in 2018," Rapoport said, as reported by NFL.com. "He said it. Everyone close to him has said it. Everyone I've spoken to has said it. The Patriots are going forward with the very strict and stern belief that he will be playing for 2018. I don't get the sense that they considered any of these reports this morning about 'maybe he doesn't play.'”
He also added: "I also know Brady is planning a little passing camp with some of his buddies before training camp. That does not sound like the kind of the thing you would do if you were not going to play in 2018."
At 40, Brady didn’t exactly show any signs of slowing down this past season, airing it out for a 2017 NFL season-high 4,577 yards in addition to 32 touchdowns, leading the Patriots back to Super Bowl LII, where they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in February.