And then there was one … and is often the case, it’s Tom Brady.
Longtime NFL kicker Sebastian Janikowski announced his retirement Sunday, giving Brady the latest distinction of his Hall of Fame career. With Janikowski hanging ’em up, Brady is now the last remaining member of the 2000 NFL Draft class.
That really shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Brady is the oldest non-kicker in the NFL right now, and much has been made about his ability to play at the highest level at an advanced age. Much also has been made about his standing in the 2000 draft class, with 198 players being picked before the six-time Super Bowl champion, including Janikowski whom the Oakland Raiders selected with the 17th overall (!) pick.
To put Brady’s longevity as it pertains to his draft class in perspective, Brian Urlacher — the No. 9 pick that year — has already retired and been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In fact, Brady, Janikowski and punter Shane Lechler were the only players in the class to play beyond the 2014 season, and only 11 of the 254 players even made it through the 2012 season.
Another fun fact: Brady might also outlasting every member of the 2001 draft, as New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is the only player remaining in that class. Oh, and while we’re at it, current free agent, journeyman quarterback Josh McCown is the only player from the 2002 crop still remaining, meaning Brady should outlast all of them, too. But wait, there’s more: Arizona Cardinals linebacker Terrell Suggs is the only player left from the 2003 draft, so that’s not out of the realm of possibility, either.
Brady, meanwhile, shows no signs of slowing down and will outlast members of every and all draft class as he continues to set the standard in the NFL.