They've answered in different ways. Brees said he wants to play until he's 45. Manning has admitted he knows he's in the final stage of his career but doesn't have a set plan on when he'll walk away. But Brady gave the best answer of all, on his weekly radio appearance with WEEI's "Dennis & Callahan" show:
"When I suck, I’ll retire," Brady said, via the Boston Globe. "But I don’t plan on sucking for a long time."
That sums it up perfectly. Usually an athlete who feels the need to retire because he's starting to suck says things to gloss over that point, with poetic nonsense like, "I want to stop the chase and take in the world," but Brady had no problem dealing it straight. His five-word answer on when he'll retire sums up probably more than 99 percent of athletes' careers. Who doesn't want to play until they can't anymore?
That's not possible, obviously. Brady just turned 37, although he is coming off another fine season as the Patriots' quarterback. He had 4,343 yards and 25 touchdowns last season. Retirement isn't imminent.
Brady said he wanted to be with New England as long as he can, and expanded on his "when I suck" answer about retirement.
"I love this game and I love working hard at it," Brady said on WEEI. "I've had a lot of people over the years tell me the things I couldn't do and I think that’s always been great motivation for me to try to go out there an accomplish things that I think I can do so hopefully I can continue to play at a really high level for a long period of time."
Hopefully for Brady, the Patriots and all NFL fans, his retirement is a long way off. At least he knows the telltale sign that it's time to give up football.
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