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BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady is now 40, entering a time in life that hasn’t been very kind to other quarterbacks.

But as we all know in New England, Tom Brady isn’t like most other quarterbacks. No 12 has made a career of defying the odds, and he’s been playing some of the best football of his life in recent years.

So it’s going to take a lot more than just a milestone birthday to make that dreaded R-word creep into Brady’s vocabulary. Retirement is far from his mind, and as always, he’s just focused on playing some football.

“I just love doing it. I’ve never thought about not playing. At least until my mid-40s, I’ve said,” Brady told reporters on Friday, his first time meeting with the media since Patriots training camp opened last week. “That’s a pretty good goal in and of itself. We’ll see when I get there.

“It’s been so fun and football has been such a rewarding part of my life. I fell in love with the game when I was young and still love it today,” Brady continued. “To get here and come out to play with the teammates and coaches I do, to represent this team and organization, has been a dream come true.”

Brady received plenty of love on Thursday, the day he hit the big 4-0, and said backup quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett surprised him with a birthday cake. Rather than put his age on it, Brissett simply tacked on the word “Old.”

But Brady’s best present from the team came over the offseason, with the addition of wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Judging from how the duo has played together at practice, it shouldn’t take long for them to form a wonderful relationship on the field once things start to really count.

“He’s been great. Just so fun to be with and so fun to work with. He comes in every day with a great attitude, he wants to work hard and is unselfish. He and I have built up a rapport, but that takes a long time to build. That takes all through the season,” said Brady. “We’re working hard at it and talking about things. He really adds to a great group of other receivers I’ve been fortunate to play with for a long time.”

Brady and Cooks showed their camp connection during Friday’s scrimmage at practice, as Cooks wrestled a deep ball by Brady away from fellow newcomer Stephon Gilmore.

“That was a great catch,” commended Brady, adding that they were able to get a free play after drawing the defense offsides. “Those are the kinds of plays we need; if we can build those into the offense and get some down-field plays, that takes more pressure off other parts of the offense.”

While some are predicting a perfect season for New England, Brady didn’t want to say just how good he thinks this team can be. Instead, he used his normal response of things are good, but there is always room for improvement.

“There is a lot of talent and the guys have worked hard, but we’re at the beginning like everyone else. The thing with football is you get out of it what you put into it; nothing is given to you. As we saw last year, the margin is very, very small,” said Brady. “There are a lot of improvements we need to make, but it’s fun to get out here and sees guys’ work ethic and mental makeup. We’re still at the beginning but it’s been fun to be out here.”

 

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