(Reuters) – New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is thinking long-term. His coach, Bill Belichick, is thinking short-term, as usual.
FILE PHOTO: Dec 23, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks on from the bench during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Belichick responded on Wednesday to a radio interview Brady did earlier this week, when he recommitted to playing as long as possible. The five-time Super Bowl champion, who on Sunday led the Patriots to their 10th straight division title, told Westwood One radio that he intends to return in 2019 for a 20th NFL season.
“I absolutely believe I will. I know I’ve talked about it for a long time. I have goals to not only play next year, but beyond that,” Brady said in the interview in advance of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. “I’m going to try to do it as best I possibly can. I’m going to give it everything I have, like I always have.
“It will certainly be a challenge. I don’t take any of these things for granted, but I hope I can keep playing, and I hope I can keep playing at a championship level.”
When asked about Brady’s comments, Belichick had this to say.
“Yeah, well, I mean, right now I think it’s a one-game season here,” Belichick told reporters. “So, we’ll just concentrate on the Jets and worry about next year, next year, worry about next week, next week, worry about last year some other year.”
Brady, 41, is under contract through the 2019 season.
“I’ve been able to be in a career for 19 years that I love. I wake up every day excited to go to work. I wake up every day fulfilled with what I’m doing. I don’t think there’s any greater gift in my life than to have that,” Brady said in the interview.
The Patriots are 10-5 on the season and will secure a first-round bye in the playoff with a win over the Jets on Sunday.
Brady was the NFL Most Valuable Player in 2017. This season, he has thrown for 4,105 yards and 25 touchdowns and been intercepted 11 times. There’s been speculation he’s been hampered by a knee injury, but Brady said he’s in good shape heading into the playoffs.
“I’m feeling really good,” Brady said. “It’s been 15 weeks of football and there’s always bumps and bruises you deal with. But I’m feeling great for this time of year. I’ll take it every year to be feeling as good as I am at this time of the season.”
—Field Level Media
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar