Maturing Tom Brady Puts NFL Life in Perspective, Knows Any Week Can Be His Last

Maturing Tom Brady Puts NFL Life in Perspective, Knows Any Week Can Be His Last FOBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady is a 34-year-old quarterback in his 12th NFL season.

The positive spin: He's a smart veteran who has continued to add some terrific seasons to his Hall of Fame resume.

The negative spin: He's getting old and is closer to the end of his career than the beginning.

Brady was asked Wednesday if he acknowledges that the clock is ticking on his NFL life, or if he sees the window closing on a chance to win a Super Bowl after a bit of a drought.

"Well, I think you realize how tough it is to win games over the years," Brady said. "I think that when you're out there as a veteran player and you provide the leadership for the team because I've been experienced in this program. We're hoping to go out there every year and put together a winning season, and it's frustrating when we don't do that. It's frustrating when we have a bad day of practice, so we're trying to make the improvements so that we can be a great football team. That's a lot of things. That's consistency, playing well under tough conditions, it's playing well under pressure. How this team stacks up against the people that we're going to face, that's why we're playing the game. That's the stuff that [head] coach [Bill Belichick] stresses. We've got to go out there and practice and practice at a high level.

"Every time you take the field, it could be your last time, so you've got to put everything you can each week into the games. This week, who knows if it's your last week? You really don't. I think that maybe that perspective has helped me a little bit as well."

As a follow-up, Brady was asked for even more perspective, as in, would he have laughed at the notion a few years ago — when he was younger and had a clean injury history — that this could be his last week in the NFL.

"Probably, yeah," Brady replied. "I think that injuries are certainly part of the game, and I've been very fortunate over the years to be able to play consistently. [Injuries are] fluky things that happen out there, and you sprain your ankle the wrong way and you're not out there and can't help the team win. Then that's disappointing because if you're not out there helping the team, you're pretty much useless to the team. Missing a whole season, that was as hard as can be to watch. But you come back with hopefully some more resiliency, a little more mental toughness and you understand that each week you have a great gift — you get to go out there and do something you really love to do and to play at a high level, and ultimately try to help your team win."

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