Tom Brady said Monday he could extend his NFL career beyond his 45th birthday as the quarterback kicked off the final countdown to his record 10th Super Bowl appearance.
The 43-year-old quarterback, who will lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in pursuit of a seventh Super Bowl crown, told reporters he was far from finished despite two bruising decades in the NFL.
"I think I'll know when it's time to walk away," said Brady, who joined Tampa Bay last year after 20 seasons with the New England Patriots.
"I don't know when that time will come but I think I'll know and understand when it does. I could never go at this game half-assed. When I don't feel I can commit to the team in a way that the team needs me, that's probably the time to walk away."
Brady, who will become the oldest player to play in a Super Bowl when he takes the field this weekend, will be 44 when next season kicks off.
However, he agreed with a suggestion that he could play past his 45th birthday, if his form and fitness allowed.
"I would definitely consider that," Brady said. "It has to be 100 percent commitment from myself to keep doing it. I've been very fortunate over the years. You take different hits, get different bumps and bruises over the year."
- 'Crazy media day' -
Brady said he was enjoying the unique preparations heading into this year's Super Bowl, which will bring the curtain down on a season played against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, Brady and Buccaneers players and coaches conducted all media interviews via Zoom, rather than the usual circus of Super Bowl week's opening night.
"Crazy media day," Brady said. "I'm sitting here in an empty room. It's very different from the other nine experiences."
Brady said his preparations had been boosted by the fact that the Buccaneers will be playing in their own stadium on Sunday -- the first time in NFL history a team has played a home Super Bowl.
"It's all very unique. I'm happy in my own bed, happy I'm eating good stuff at home, don't have to travel, pack my clothes and all the other crap. I think there's some real positives to take from it," he said.
"My family's been out of town for the past six days and they're not coming back until Saturday," he revealed.
"So I've had an empty house for 12 days leading up to the game which is the most preparation I've ever had. It gives me time to get my body right. There's been no travel for our team which is very different. We stay at our own homes, that is very different. We don't have to eat hotel food for a week, which is very different. And the stadium will only be like 25,000 people, that'll be different."
Brady said he used the solitude and extra time for video analysis.
"The more I study, the more I watch, the more I understand," he said.