Tom Brady said in the past he’d like to play until he’s 45 years old.

But what if the quarterback sold himself short?

Ian O’Connor, who provided an in-depth look at Brady’s decision to leave the New England Patriots and sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a piece published Monday on ESPN.com, believes the six-time Super Bowl champion will play beyond the two-year contract he signed in free agency this offseason.

Brady turns 43 in August, meaning his new deal with Tampa Bay takes him through his age-44 season, but O’Connor explained Monday on WEEI’s “Dale & Keefe” that he doesn’t see this contract being the end of the road for the greatest QB in NFL history.

“I do think he’ll have a successful run there (in Tampa Bay),” O’Connor said. “I do think he’s got a lot of football left in him. In fact, I had a phone conversation with him for about an hour two, three years ago where we were talking about Tom Brady playing until age 46, 47, maybe even 48. So, I don’t think he’s stopping at 45, as long as he’s — I really don’t.

“I never thought he was going to stop at 45. So, I think he’s got four or five years left, and I think he’ll play a fairly high level of football for Tampa Bay.”

More Brady: Bucs QB Explains What Motivates Him After All These Years

It’s hard to imagine any NFL quarterback playing until he’s 48, and we must acknowledge Brady showed signs of regression in 2019, even if most of the blame for New England’s offensive struggles could be placed on his supporting cast.

But the fire still clearly burns inside Brady, evidenced by his essay published Monday on The Players’ Tribune, so maybe O’Connor’s bold prediction isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

Perhaps a change of scenery after 20 seasons in New England will reinvigorate Brady, to the point where he blows past the age-45 expiration date in pursuit of more Super Bowl rings.

More Patriots: Was Tom Brady Taking Shots At Bill Belichick In Players’ Tribune Article?

Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images