ESPN: Brady not committed to playing for Patriots this yearField Level Media
April 18. 2018 1:29PM
Tom Brady is not yet officially committed to playing in 2018, but the New England Patriots and others close to him expect the 40-year-old back for his 20th season.
ESPN reported Wednesday that Brady did not give “official word” that he’s planning to be with the Patriots, putting him in the same proverbial boat as tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Brady, who turns 41 in August, was not present at the start of the offseason program on Monday. He is not expected to participate in the team’s offseason program for the third time in his career.
“My money would be on him playing football for the foreseeable future, but what goes on away from the football field, I don’t know,” one source told ESPN, according to the report Wednesday. “I don’t know.”
Brady previously stated he wanted to play until he’s 45. However, in his Facebook series “Tom vs. Time” there were strong indications Brady’s career is nearing the finish line.
Last October, the Patriots traded Brady’s backup — Jimmy Garoppolo, a second-round pick who appeared to be the heir to Brady — to the San Francisco 49ers. Last August, the Patriots shipped Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts.
Part of the motivation to deal Garoppolo, according to ESPN’s Seth Wickersham, was a power struggle between Brady, head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft. The spin was Brady did not want to be looking over his shoulder and felt he had earned the right to decide when to pull the plug on his career with the Patriots.
There was also a reported struggle over the presence of Brady’s personal trainer and nutritionist, Alex Guerrero, because of the shadow it cast over the Patriots’ training staff. Guerrero had his Gillette Stadium office and seat on the team’s plane to road games taken away.
New England acquired a second first-round pick for next week’s draft in a deal that sent wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams, sparking speculation the Patriots could be primed to climb up for Brady’s eventual replacement.