Foxborough, MA - Coming into the pre-season, many fans of the New England Patriots have the same question on their minds. Is this the beginning of the end for the Patriots dynasty? Now, in the past eighteen years, this question has been asked a lot and not once has it been true. But this time, it feels different. This time, the concerns arise from inside the fan base rather than the media circus that surrounds a team as unstoppably good as the Patriots have been.

With Danny Amendola, Malcolm Butler, Brandin Cooks, and Dion Lewis separated across the league, many fans felt that New England was not necessarily interested in maintaining some of their most crucial pieces to success from the past couple years. With rumors swirling that Rob Gronkowski would retire and that Bill Belichick was ready to jump ship, it seemed like the Patriots might just not care anymore. This potential story was not helped when Tom Brady showed a disinterest in showing up to off-season practices to which he was perennially accustomed. Even the Tom versus Time documentary seemed to indicate that the end was near for Brady, who had always said he would play football until he was, at least, forty-five years old.

Now, though, Brady might be singing a different tune. Currently, Tom Brady’s contract extends through the 2019 season, meaning Brady will be forty-three when the time comes to see if he actually would like to play two more seasons. But as of right now, Brady seems ready to commit to that. On an interview with Kirk and Callahan on WEEI, Brady not only said that his relationship with Belichick was a good one, but that it was not an obstacle that he is facing when evaluating whether or not he will play in 2020 and beyond. Brady told the radio hosts that he absolutely expects to play past the 2019 season.

The drive is there and certainly Brady will do whatever it takes to keep his body in tip top shape to play late into his forties. The first step will be to see how Brady performs in this Thursday’s pre-season game against the Philadelphia Eagles.