Miami Dolphins

Tom Brady might play through 2023. Penny for your thoughts, Stephen Ross?

Tom Brady has already played longer than Dan Marino did.
Tom Brady has already played longer than Dan Marino did.

Here’s news that will make Dolphins fans choke up their morning cafecito:

Tom Brady, who turns 40 in August, is open to playing another seven years.

Not seven months. Seven YEARS.

Yes, the five-time Super Bowl champion, the first-ballot Hall of Famer and general bane of the Dolphins’ existence, has no plans to retire, even if wife Gisele Bundchen wants him to hang them up.

“As recently as two, three days ago, he assured me he's willing to play six, seven more years," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Monday at the NFL owners meetings, according to “At the level he performed, there is no one who would be happier than I am and our fan base. When you think about it, there's one player at the age of 40 who had one good year: [Brett] Favre.

“I think Tommy's sustained excellence is just unbelievable,” Kraft continued. “It's a lifestyle. He's in training. I remember after our first Super Bowl going down to the trainer in the old Foxboro Stadium three days after we won and he's in there with the music blaring, working out. The thing that's amazing about him, to this day he hasn't changed as a human being in terms of how he relates to people, but also how he works out. The only thing is he changes how he eats, how he diets. I'm not sure avocado ice cream is right for me, so if I can look like him and perform half as well, I guess I'll do it.”

Somebody quick, get Cameron Wake some avocado ice cream — stat.

The question, of course, isn’t if Brady’s mind is willing to play that long. It’s whether his body fails him. Quarterbacks tend to fall apart once they reach Brady’s age, with Peyton Manning the most recent example.

Just a handful of them have ever made it past the big 4-0. The oldest quarterback in NFL history? George Blanda, who played until he was 48.

So what does Stephen Ross, who has never finished ahead of Brady’s Patriots as a majority owner of the Dolphins, think about this news?

“Good luck,” Ross told ESPN. “I love Tom Brady. He’s a Michigan guy. It’s OK. I don’t worry about them. We have to worry about my team.”

Ross added: “I admire Tom Brady. He’s a fabulous person, a great player, no question. I have total respect for him. But I haven’t given up on ours. We’re building our team. I like our coach, I like our culture -- I think we’re changing it -- and we’re looking to be competitive.”

Dolphins coach Adam Gase, asked about Brady playing another six or seven years Tuesday, responded: “If he can play that long, that's great. He's great for the league. We can't be an organization that runs and hides. We should want to go against the best team every year, and the fact that they're in our division, we should look at it as a great challenge. We know that our goal has to be to win the division, because we know if we do that, we're pretty good.”

It’s long been assumed that when Brady retires, Bill Belichick will too. Belichick would be 71 in 2023, six years older than Don Shula in Shula’s final season.

But Kraft said Monday that he hopes Belichick coaches another decade after that.

“You see Warren Buffet and Rupert Murdoch, they're in their mid-eighties and performing in a pretty high level, so we're going to keep Bill healthy,” Kraft said.

If he does, Belichick would surely obliterate Shula’s record for career wins as a coach (347). Belichick trails Shula by 84 victories (including the postseason), so would likely need at least another seven seasons to pass him.

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

Miami Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry talks about the team's loss to the New England Patriots on Jan. 1, 2017.


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