Tom Brady, at age 44, is in the midst of his 22nd NFL season.
That, in and of itself, is amazing. The fact he’s still performing at an elite level, fresh off his seventh Super Bowl title, is almost incomprehensible.
So, what advice does Brady have for young quarterbacks hoping for similar career longevity?
“Good luck,” he joked Thursday during a news conference with reporters. “It’s tough, but it’s up to them. If you do the right stuff, you have a shot. But I see a lot of people not do the right stuff. I try to influence the people I can. First of all, you have to love it. If you want to do it for a long period of time, you have to really excel at it and that really comes from loving it.
“So, it’s a lot of different motivation over a long period of time. Lots of little things at different moments — some is more motivation, some is more inspiration, but there are a lot of different things that play into it.”
Brady, selected in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, spent his first two decades in the league with the New England Patriots, winning six Super Bowl titles and cementing himself as the greatest quarterback of all time. And yet, that wasn’t enough. Retirement still wasn’t an option.
Brady, now in his second season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, secured another ring upon leaving Foxboro and has shown no signs of slowing down. He even believes he could play until he’s 50, a testament to both his work ethic and his overall passion for football.
“Well, I always love it,” Brady said. “There are probably days I love more than others, but I definitely love it. I love working out. I think the point is you push your body physically, your mind and your spirit mentally and emotionally, and all of those things have to kind of stay in the right place over a long period of time.
“There are a lot of things that can take away from it. It’s a hard thing to do. There haven’t been many people who’ve done it, but I think I, in my part, have been very fortunate to have the right people in my life that have really allowed me to be successful — physically, mentally and emotionally.”
You hear that, kids? Take notes.