Tom Brady has played in the NFL for 21 years, and will be 45 when the 2022 football season starts.
His contract includes another year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Brady is hinting at retirement already.
Brady said that football hits take a toll on his health, and he has less time to spend with family.
Tom Brady’s NFL career has been at the forefront of his life for the last 21 years, but that may come to an end soon.
Brady, who just got ruled out of this year’s Super Bowl after losing to the LA Rams on Sunday, has another year on his contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He previously said that his goal was to play until he was 45, an age he’ll reach this year, a month before the start of the 2022 season.
But the 44-year-old quarterback said on the Sirius XM podcast “Let’s Go!” that taking hits on the football field at this point in his life isn’t ideal for his body, or his marriage with his wife Gisele Bündchen.
“My wife is my biggest supporter, it pains her to see me get hit out there. She deserves what she needs from me as a husband and my kids deserve what they need from me as a dad,” Brady said to host Jim Gray. “We think we’re going to live forever, we’re not. We think we’re going to play forever, we’re not.”
Brady’s storied career has been heavily associated with his commitment and discipline to follow a strict lifestyle routine, which he detailed in his 2017 book “The TB12 Method.” His diet and wellness practices are some of the most well-documented among any professional athlete, and he shares his methods with customers of his TB12 wellness program.
But a strict diet, lifestyle, and impressive talent will not prevent the inevitable: that football takes a physical toll on the body, and demands the majority of his time.
Brady has taken a historically physical punishment
Brady was sacked three times by the Los Angeles Rams in Tampa Bay’s 30-27 loss in the divisional round. That brought his sack total to 25 this year at the age of 44.
Over the course of his career, Brady has taken 543 sacks — more quarterback hits than any player in NFL history.
The hits haven’t taken Brady off the field much. He hasn’t missed a game to injury since 2008 when he missed the final 15 games of the season after suffering an ACL tear.
Still, Brady might start to feel those hits creep back on him with regular pain over time.
Research on NFL players has drawn a link between that repetitive mid- to lower-body hits and osteoarthritis. And players have shared their own experience with pain in retirement.
San Francisco 49ers Hall-of-Famer Joe Montana, who Brady idolized as a child, told USA Today he can’t run any more due to severe arthritis after playing 15 years and winning four Super Bowls. Green Bay Packers Hall-of-Famer Brett Favre, 52, held the record for most sacks taken before Brady, and said he experienced so much pain in his post-playing career that he became addicted to painkillers, according to Sports Illustrated.
Brady might also be getting more punishment per hit than those that came before him, however.
NFL players have become bigger and faster in recent years, per NFL scouting combine trends. That increased weight and speed is causing collisions to players, especially quarterbacks, to increase in levels of force, according to the book “Football Physics: The Science of the Game,” NPR reported.
In essence, the data suggests Brady is getting hit with way more force on average than Montana or Favre.
Brady says he doesn’t want to spend more time away from his wife and kids
Brady said that the decision of whether he comes back for another season isn’t necessarily just about what he wants to do, but what his wife and children want as well.
Brady and Bündchen have been married since 2009. They have two children, a 12-year-old son named Benjamin, and a nine-year-old daughter named Vivian.
“I’m gonna spend some time with them and give them what they need because they’ve really been giving me what I need the last six months to do what I love to do,” he said. “I said this a few years ago, it’s what relationships are all about — It’s not always what I want, it’s what we want as a family. I’m gonna spend a lot of time with them and figure out in the future what’s next.”
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