BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady remains one of the best quarterbacks in football, despite the fact that he’ll turn 40 years old in just a few days.

With a membership to AARP just a decade away, some pundits have started to predict a sharp decline for Brady, which is not uncommon for quarterbacks once they hit the big 4-0. But Brady isn’t like other quarterbacks, and his MVP-level play over the last few seasons (not to mention two Super Bowl MVPs) prove that.

While Brady may be in his own stratosphere on the field, that doesn’t stop the young duo behind him on the New England depth chart from giving him some grief about his old age.

“I mean, we’ve got to. It wouldn’t be right if we didn’t,” Jimmy Garoppolo told reporters Friday after practice. “We’re there to bring him back down to earth once in a while, I’ll say that.”

Brady was already slinging the pigskin as a high schooler when Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett were born. But just because they occasionally needle him about his soon-to-be elderly status doesn’t mean Garoppolo isn’t in awe of what Brady is accomplishing at his age.

“Playing into your 40s, you have to tip your hat to Tom; how he goes about his business and takes care of his body, that’s a tribute to him,” he said.

Brady has said numerous times that he wants to play well into his 40s, which puts Garoppolo (a free agent after this season) in a very peculiar spot. Having such an accomplished player ahead of him may be frustrating, but the 25-year-old Garoppolo is taking it in stride.

“‘It’s an ‘It is what it is’ type of thing,” said Garoppolo. “He’s been in the system for a while and knows it like the back of his hand. It’s my job to catch up and get as close as I possibly can to that. That’s part of being a quarterback — the competition part. You have to love that.”

Garoppolo has struggled a bit to start camp, tossing four interceptions over the first two days of practice, but he told reporters that picks in camp can sometimes be the product of trying something new or .

Still, that doesn’t mean he’s okay with throwing the ball to the defense.

“Every one is different. I wouldn’t say they are all in one category or the next. Whenever you throw an interception, whether you’re testing something out or giving a guy a chance, you never want to throw it in the first place,” he said.

Entering his fourth season in New England, Garoppolo is now running with his new role as a veteran on the team. He’s helping Patriots rookies when they have questions about the transition from college football to the NFL, another step in his progression as a pro.

“Rookie year, that was a rough training camp,” Garoppolo said with a chuckle. “I don’t want to go back and re-live that, but it’s night and day compared to that. Rookie year, I was trying to learn formations, coverages, all that stuff. Coming out of college, it was so tough, so different, and now I have that experience and everything, and now I’m using it to my advantage.”

Comments (2)
  1. The way he takes care of himself and how he plays the game makes me think he can go 5 more years, but, if he wins another Superbowl next year and rides off into the Sunset, I would have to tip my hat and say that was the best retirement tour I have every witnessed! With the supermodel wife waiting to join him…what!!!!? He can’t go wrong either way.

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