As you’ve probably realized by now, Tom Brady isn’t slowing down any time soon. The Buccaneers quarterback is entering his 22nd season in the NFL and second with Tampa Bay. In a one-on-one interview with Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Brady — who signed an extension with the Bucs that links him to the team through 2022 — seemed to make it clear that the 2021 season will not be his final year in the league and it appears like retirement isn’t even on his radar.
“Hopefully, I’ll be here a long time,” Brady told Stroud. “For many years.”
And why would Brady want to hang them up? In his first season with Tampa Bay after signing with them in the spring of 2020, Brady was able to win his seventh Super Bowl title and the Buccaneers became the first team in history to win the Super Bowl in their home stadium. Needless to say, Brady loves the choice he made.
“Whatever I thought I was getting into, it’s been so much better,” he said. “As good as I could’ve envisioned, it’s been even more enjoyable than that. It’s pretty much a different life than being in the Northeast. I had a great 20 years and I never want to take away from that. Also, this experience has been amazing. (Tampa’s) a great-kept secret. It’s a small city. Everything is close. The airport is close. Work is close. We live on the water.”
Not only is Brady happy with his decision to sign with the Bucs, but he’s also healthy after playing the entire 2020 season with a torn MCL in his left knee.
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“It’s good for me to feel like I can move around freely,” Brady said of his recovery. “I had a knee sleeve on for 13 years. Just that little bit of compression keeps a hamstring from working the right way. You try to compress the knee to keep it more stable, but then you’re also compressing the quad. This is the first time that I’ve been able to run and not think about it. I’m not going to turn into Michael Vick out there but at least I’m not going to be super restricted.”
A healthier and more familiar Brady as he enters his second season in the Buccaneers offense is a scary proposition for the rest of the NFL. Could the Bucs be even better than they were during their championship-winning season a year ago? It’s possible, but Brady made it clear that resting on their laurels isn’t an option.
“I think that’s what you’ve got to guard against,” he said. “You can’t think that, ‘Oh, it’s just going to go the way it went (last) year. So we already know what to expect so let’s just play with the same level of effort. My only point is we know what to expect. But it’s not like we won 20 games last year. We won 15. We were 15-5. It’s not like we were undefeated and we were blowing teams out. There’s a lot of room for improvement, at least I feel from our offense.”
Now, Brady and his teammates will embark on a 2021 season and try to do something that hasn’t been done since Brady did it with the Patriots in 2003 and 2004: repeat as Super Bowl champions.