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How long can Tom Brady keep going?

Posted by Albert Breer  September 30, 2010 11:18 AM

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Rich Gannon, who was actually originally drafted by the Patriots, won AP NFL MVP honors at the ripe old age of 37, and his four Pro Bowls came at 34, 35, 36 and 37. In fact, during our phone conversation a few weeks back, Gannon was insistent that he could well physically go out there now, at 45 years old, and play the position.

What it boiled down to with him was the grind and commitment that the game demands of its field generals, and that's often what pushes quarterbacks away.

But as far as the physical ability to do it? Gannon has no doubt it's in Brady, and Manning as well.

"The first thing is footwork, that ability to get away from the line of scrimmage,’" Gannon said. “If you look at Peyton and Tom and put them in the 40-yard dash, no one’s going to be too excited. But put them in a confined pocket, and watch them step up, slide, and throw from an awkward position and see how efficient they are.

"There’s a reason. How many times does Brady get hit because he doesn’t see the corner blitz coming? Never happens, because he’s smart. He’s a master of that domain with his understanding of that scheme, the protection, what the defensive coordinator is doing, the situation, down-and-distance, all of it.

"If Tom Brady tells you he’ll probably play another 10 years, I’d bet there’s truth to it."

Again, we'll see. But barring major injuries, it's really not out of the realm of possibility to think he could play into his 40s. Whether he'll want to keep going at that age may wind up being the real question.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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