Foxborough, MA– For years now, many have questioned how long Tom Brady will continue to play in the NFL, never mind how long he'll be one of the best quarterbacks in the league, as he continues to prove himself. However, he has also outlasted many of the players who have joined him on his run towards two decades of dominance and dynasties, and it looks like he is about to outlast a group of major contributors to the second half of his career and the runs of the New England Patriots. Just maybe not yet.
Beloved players have come and gone during his time with New England, with some having careers that lasted half as long as Brady's, despite their overall contributions to the team's greatness. Defensive stalwarts and offensive game-changers come to mind like Vince Wilfork, Rob Ninkovich, and Wes Welker. Now, a few more players have entered the discussion about whether retirement is on the horizon for them.
For one, Patriots safety and defensive leader Devin McCourty announced that he is not yet ready to retire from football. A high-caliber captain of the Patriots who has won three titles in his nine seasons with the team will return for a tenth (which is also the final year on his contract), despite his previous statement that he would think about hanging up his cleats if they won Super Bowl LIII (news flash: they did!). His brother, Jason McCourty, will be a free agent this off-season, but he aims to return next year, as well.
One player who is arguably the league's best tight end ever, Rob Gronkowski, said he is still thinking about his future, though. He debated retiring last off-season, too, and only returned because the Patriots did not pull the trigger on trading him to the Detroit Lions. Gronk is no longer in peak form, but he is still a valuable asset for New England. Many have reported that Gronk has been hanging around Gillette Stadium recently, but his decision will not come for a couple of weeks.
Brady, though? He has no plans to call it quits. What else is new?
(Photo via Flickr: U.S. Department of Agriculture)