Tom Brady will play until he’s 45 … or so he thinks

Alan Greenwood

For the first time since Tom Brady drew a paycheck while blanketed in total obscurity, the Patriots will open a season dogged by uncertainty.

Good players left town after losing a maddeningly winnable Super Bowl. One star stayed, but threatened retirement rather than continue as a pawn in Bill Belichick’s joyless empire.

Funny how Rob Gronkowski stopped grousing when given an opportunity to pad his bank account with very achievable bonus clauses.

Is this Belichick’s final season? Maybe; the hunch here is probably.

It wasn’t Belichick’s idea to give away the team’s best hope for sustained dominance because Brady didn’t like having Jimmy Garoppolo peeking over his shoulder. Owner Robert Kraft made it clear that Belichick’s authority now ends where Brady wants his to begin.

So the team is dogged by off-field drama that, in large part, was spawned by Brady’s purchase of a time-share in Diva-ville.

Maybe the epilogue to his self-produced documentary, “Tom vs. Time,” was meant to scrape off a coat or two from that gray wall. Or, more likely, Brady is simply weary of being asked about his self-professed goal of playing deeper into middle age than his wife would like.

Whatever the motivation, Brady proclaimed that he wants to play until he is 45. Hopefully he truly grasps the possibility that the decision may not be his. That’s a reality that most football players, particularly those who share Brady’s high level of intelligence, fully understand.

No man north of 40 years old can continue a pro football career and be certain when it will end. Maybe Brady can continue at his MVP-level of performance for four more years. Maybe his skill set will drag him down in three years, two years or two months.

There is never a guarantee, not even for the GOAT.

One thing is all-but certain: If Brady falls any time soon, the dynasty will not linger for more than a week with Brian Hoyer at the controls.

TIME TRAVEL: Sept. 7, 1948 – “Nashua High School’s grid eleven played St. Clement’s of Somerville to a scoreless deadlock in the second annual Merrimack Valley Conference Football Jamboree (in Lowell) Sunday afternoon before a shirt-sleeve crowd of nearly 10,000 fans.

“Nashua failed to score but they carried the ball as far as the St. Clement’s three-yard line at the end of one period that cost them all the ground gained, though they received the kick-off opening the second and final period. Strong on the ground, the Nashuans failed to produce a passing attack to keep pace with the ground offensive. Bobby Blow and Bobby Morse both tried aerials but neither could produce a strike.”

There was no record indicating the number of pass attempts Nashua coach Buzz Harvey authorized. Considering the times, more than one for each passer would have been considered fairly radical.

Alan Greenwood can be reached at 594-1248, agreenwood or @Telegraph_ AlanG.