By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — If there were anyone you’d think would follow Bill Belichick’s new mantra “No days off,” it would be Tom Brady. The Super Bowl MVP has only had to work harder to stay in game shape throughout the offseason as he has aged. But, in a twist as improbable as the Patriots’ Super Bowl comeback, Brady is arguably in better physical shape now at age 39 than he was as a 23-year-old rookie.
Brady talked about his offseason plans with Pro Football Talk Live on Tuesday, shedding light on the work he needs to put in to make sure he’s ready for the start of the 2017 season and the Patriots’ “Blitz for Six.” In-between White House talk and questions about being considered the “greatest of all time,” Brady said that he may take a few days off in the coming months but can’t hold back in his training to stay in game shape and be ready at the start of 2017 training camp.
“At this point in my career the best thing to do is just to do it year-round,” Brady said. “I don’t think the ebbs and flows, [to] get in great shape and then get out of shape and then see if you can get back into shape, is a good thing. So I prefer to keep my arm always ready to go.”
It helps that Brady apparently isn’t dealing with any serious injuries that he had to play through during the 2016 season. He told The MMQB’s Peter King that he feels “zero pain” and is at “100 percent” entering the offseason – but that doesn’t mean he’s letting up.
Such dedication to year-round training could drive some people insane, but not Brady. He prefers it that way.
“I really love training and being in good shape and it’s so much a part of my life now, so it never really feels like work to me,” said Brady. “It’s a real strength for me that I’ve never minded the training process.”
Robert Kraft once told the story of Brady meeting him in Foxboro after the Patriots drafted him in 2000. The owner described a “skinny beanpole” with a pizza box under his arm who called himself the best decision that the organization had ever made. In retrospect, Brady certainly turned out to be right. But the image of a scrawny Brady gorging on pizza is a far cry from him at age 39, eating avocado ice cream and having one of the strictest diets of any pro athlete.
Brady said in a Facebook post on Sunday that he isn’t planning on giving up football anytime soon. Considering he’s already looking toward 2017 and taking barely any days off in the process, that should come as no surprise.
It’s rare for any NFL player to succeed after age 40, but after Super Bowl LI, there’s no more reason to doubt Brady. The age-40 records are just the next set of numbers Brady has a good chance to rewrite once he enters his 18th season in the league. His age may have forced him to work out a lot harder, but he’s doing just that – and it’s paying off in his remarkable late-career results.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.