Brady, coming off a season in which he paced the league in passing yards and touchdowns, still believes he can play. And not just play, but out-play his peers including young stars such as the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen.
“Well, I just felt like I had a little left. And I want to give it a shot. And I owed it to my teammates and our great coaches and our whole organization,” Brady said Monday on the “Let’s Go!” podcast with Jim Gray.
The 45-year-old Brady has every shot to win his eighth Lombardi Trophy, given the talent around him. Already featuring weapons such as Leonard Fournette, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on their offense, the Buccaneers brought in former Atlanta Falcons receiving duo Russell Gage and Julio Jones. With Rob Gronkowski retired, Tampa Bay pivoted and brought in veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph.
They will debut their new weaponry in Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys on NBC‘s “Sunday Night Football.”
“We’re going against a good team. The Cowboys are very talented in all three phases,” Brady said. “They’re doing a really good job with their defensive scheme, they change their fronts a lot. They change their coverages.”
Tom Brady Facing Challenges Entering Age-45 Campaign
Things, however, are different this time around for Brady. As are the questions surrounding his commitment to Tampa Bay. After all, Brady did retire and took an 11-day absence during training camp tending to a “personal matter.”
It’s uncharted territory for Brady, as it’s been decades since any quarterback played in the NFL at age 45 or older. With that presents challenges in itself, which Brady touched on with Gray.
“I think I’m a better football player now, obviously,” Brady said. “That also comes with a lot of other aspects of life that continue to change. Because it is your life, and I think I alluded to a few weeks ago, everyone deals with different things in their life. So even though I’m playing in my 23rd year I have a freshman in high school that is playing football, too. I have a 12-year-old that is going through his life. I have a 9-year-old that is going through her life. And I have parents.
“I have a lot of things that are really important off-field pursuits and goals that you are trying to maximize as well. So we all have different things that are going on and I think once football season comes I really lock in on what I need to do and how I need to focus.”
Asked Monday if his quarterback was all-in, head coach Todd Bowles said that’s been the case since he came to Tampa Bay.
“He’s been all-in since we got him,” Bowles said. “He’s all-in now. I don’t follow the off-the-field stuff. I listen to XM The Groove and Soul Town.”