BOSTON (CBS) — With the Patriots season now over, focus can shift to Boston’s winter sports — the Boston Bruins and the Boston Celtics. Right?
Not exactly. While the Patriots no longer playing football meant there were a lot more reporters in the Bruins dressing room on Monday morning, that doesn’t mean the Patriots weren’t on everyone’s minds. And with their season ending Saturday night with a disappointing Wild Card loss to the Tennessee Titans, the focus is now on the future of quarterback Tom Brady.
With Brady set to become a free agent, there’s a chance the GOAT will be grazing elsewhere next season. That’s an image that many can’t picture, including Bruins forward Brad Marchand.
“We’d love to see him back. He’s part of this city and it would be pretty tough to see him in any other jersey,” Marchand said Monday, as the Bruins gear up for their own game against a Nashville team on Tuesday. “I can guarantee you he would come back to bite everyone in the butts. Hopefully he’s back this year.”
Brady received his share of criticism for a lackluster offensive season by the Patriots, but Marchand will hear none of that.
“He’s obviously the best quarterback to ever play. I think fans need to open their eyes and realize how grateful they should to be that he’s been part of that organization,” he said. “He’s been catching a little bit of heat, but the guy is a legend. He won them six championships. They may not have had the year that people would have liked, but he’s a hell of a quarterback and I’m sure he has few years left in him.”
Brady will turn 43 before next season begins, which is the age that Bruins captain Zdeno Chara will turn on the day Brady becomes a free agent on March 18. The two have connected and chatted about their longevity in the past, but what really sticks with Chara is Brady’s impact off the playing field.
“I think we all have to realize what he’s done for this city, for the sport, for the league — for thousands and thousands of children growing up. He’s been such a huge motivator and such an inspiring story,” Chara said of the former sixth-round pick turned six-time Super Bowl champ. “He had such a great effect on everything he does in such a positive way.”
So, do the Bruins think Brady will be back in New England next season? Like everyone else, they have no idea.
“I’m sure he’s going to make the right decision,” said Chara. “We just have to really cherish what he accomplished and what he brought to the sport and city. It’s something that probably won’t ever be done again. He’s the greatest.”
Chara is signed through the end of the season, but he isn’t sure if he’ll go the Brady route and try to play until he’s 45.
“We’ll see. Right now I’m here and talking to you guys, getting ready for Nashville,” said Chara.
Marchand, 31, isn’t thinking that far into the future. But when his time comes, it’s going to take a lot to get him off the ice.
“If I was at his level, for sure, I’d want to continue to play. You want to play as long as you can. It’s a gift to play this game and it’s an honor,” he said. “I would want to play as long as possible, but at some point they’re going to kick me out.
“Hopefully it’s 20 years down the road, but we’ll see how it is. They’re going to have to kick me out of the league to get me to stop playing. And I don’t mean suspended,” Marchand said, drawing chuckles from the crowd around him.