By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — In 2014, Tom Brady made a simple proclamation about his expected career length. Quite simply, Brady said, “When I suck, I’ll retire.”READ MORE: Fantasy Football Start Or Sit Week 2: Is Aaron Rodgers Due For A Big Bounceback Game?
Seven years — and four Super Bowl victories later — Brady has added some detail to what that means.
Speaking with Peter King, the 44-year-old Brady explained that he’ll continue to play in the NFL for as long as he believes he’s capable of wining Super Bowls.
“I’ll know when the time’s right. If I can’t … if I’m not a championship-level quarterback, then I’m not gonna play,” Brady told King. “If I’m a liability to the team, I mean, no way. But if I think I can win a championship, then I’ll play.”
Last year, at age 43, Brady threw 40 touchdowns in the regular season, the second-highest single-season total of his entire career. He threw another 10 touchdowns in the playoffs, which is something he had only done once before (2014, in one fewer game). He completed 21 of his 29 passes in Super Bowl LV, with three touchdowns and no interceptions en route to winning his fifth career Super Bowl MVP Award.READ MORE: Andrew Farrell Reflects On Setting A Number Of Revolution Records: 'I Just Love To Play'
Clearly, despite his age, Brady was still a championship-caliber quarterback in 2020, and his presence on the Bucs right now is proof that he still believes he’ll be playing at that level in 2021.
Elsewhere in his interview, Brady made a comment that might raise an eyebrow or two in New England — and certainly for Boston sports radio hosts.
The quarterback was talking about how much he enjoys the people that he’s playing with and working with in Tampa. Unprompted, Brady made sure to note that what he was saying was not an insult at his former place of employment in New England.
“If you’re doing what you love doing and you’re with people you love doing it with, it’s all good,” Brady told King. “You can go to the Bahamas and play golf with the worst threesome of all time and you’re gonna have a horrible time. Or you can go to the local muni with your three best friends and have the best time. I love the guys I’m working with. This is nothing about New England. I love New England. I love the players. I love the coaches. It was magical.”
While the average Joe might not be able to relate to having a poor outing on the golf course in the Bahamas, the mention of New England was nevertheless noteworthy. Perhaps King asked Brady if he prefers the working environment in Tampa compared to New England, and Brady was answering a question along those lines. Perhaps Brady is hyper-aware that everything he says gets twisted and turned into all sorts of different messages. Or perhaps this is part of the 90 percent of the time that Brady doesn’t speak the whole truth and nothing but the truth.MORE NEWS: The List Of Six Rookie Quarterbacks Who Have Beaten Bill Belichick's Patriots Is Insane
In any event, Brady loves it in Tampa. And that’s not a knock on anyone or anything in New England. Even though potentially nobody asked about New England. Just making sure. New England was great too. Let the record show.