TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady says he’s focused on helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win, not how much longer he may want to play.
“I think we’re all getting one day older at a time. We’re all not sure whether we’re going to be here next year or not,” the 45-year-old quarterback said Thursday “That’s the reality for every player, every coach, every parent. You just never know, so we should all take advantage of the opportunity we have in front of us now.”
It’s been a newsy offseason for the seven-time Super Bowl winner.
He announced his retirement in February, unretired in March, and then missed a chunk of training camp for personal reasons that Brady has not discussed publicly since rejoining the team after an 11-day absence.
The Bucs open the season Sunday night at Dallas.
Brady reiterated he’s focused on the Cowboys, not lingering questions about why he left the team for part of August.
He’s accustomed to being in the spotlight off the field, as well as dealing with speculation about his personal life.
“It’s been like that for a long time for me. … I professionally show up every day and do my job the best way I can” Brady said.
Coach Todd Bowles said this week that he has no doubt Brady will be ready for the season opener and remains fully committed to helping the Bucs get back to the Super Bowl.
“He’s been all-in since we got him. He’s all-in now,” Bowles said. “I don’t follow the off-the-field stuff.”
Brady spoke for 10 minutes on Thursday, fielding questions from local reporters for only the third time since training camp opened in July.
He lauded the addition of Julio Jones to an offense that was already one of the most potent in the NFL.
Brady also spoke highly of two young starters on an injury-depleted offensive line and acknowledged it won’t be easy to replace longtime favorite target Rob Gronkowski, who retired.
“You’d much rather play with a guy like Gronk than not. But he’s not here. We’ve got to do other things and play to the strengths of the players that we have,” Brady said.
“This is what football is all about. The season isn’t going to go like it went last year for anybody. That’s not the reality. You have to deal with where you are in the moment and deal with the challenges you face,” Brady added. “Certain guys aren’t here, certain guys are going to get hurt, things are going to happen to teams. It’s a long marathon, and we’re not even at the starting gate yet.”
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