Win or lose, Tom Brady says he will be back next year

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady answers questions during a news conference in Minneapolis.

Tom Brady has said in the past that he would like to play until he’s 45, although some have wondered if he would hang it up if the Patriots would repeat as Super Bowl champs Sunday night. Brady dispelled that notion in an interview that aired on Westwood One radio ahead of Super Bowl LII.

“Yeah, you’re going to see me playing football next year. I don’t envision not playing,’’ Brady said. “You’re at the end of the race but you’ve got your biggest mountain to climb right at the end. Hopefully all the lessons we’ve learned have allowed us to be at our very best for this moment and that’s what it’s going to take and that’s what we’re prepared for and that’s what I go out and expect our team to do.’’

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On Saturday night, Brady was named league MVP for the third time.

“It’s hard to imagine being 40 years old and playing for as long as I have. To me it’s such a team award. You can’t doing anything in this sport without the teammates that I’ve had. I’m very blessed to be on a team that’s coached so well. We’ve had so much success.’’

Despite making his eighth appearance in the Super Bowl, Brady is not taking the experience for granted.

“It’s very special, and I don’t take it for granted, because I know how hard it is to get here,’’ said Brady. “I’ve had so much experience at not being here. I went 10 years by the time we won another Super Bowl. You realize how hard it is to be in this game, and to win this game. It’s incredibly special to be here.

“I think the one thing my experience has really helped with is the pace of the week: How the preparation needs to be over the course of the week.’’

Last year, much of the attention was centered around Brady’s mother as she battled cancer. Brady was asked what it would mean to his father if the Patriots were to prevail.

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“It would mean a lot. My dad is my biggest supporter, the greatest man I have ever known. He taught me so much. He’s been just a wonderful influence in my life,’’ said Brady. “He’s there every step of the way.

“My dad loves sports and we’ve been little traveling companions since I was in high school and he’s a wonderful, wonderful man and I love him with all my heart. I’m happy he’s going to be here, I know he’s going to be nervous as hell, but that’s what it is when you’re in these games and hopefully I can go make him proud.’’

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Must-see photos from Super Bowl LII: