Patriots

Tom Brady hints at possibility of retirement after this season

Tom Brady hints at possibility of retirement after this season

Tom Brady has long indicated that he'd like to play much longer. He's 42 now. He's said many times that he'd like to try to get to his age-45 season. And the closer he's gotten to that number, the more realistic it's seemed. He remains one of the best quarterbacks in football.

But in his weekly appearance with WEEI's Greg Hill Show, Brady was asked about his future. ESPN's Adam Schefter mentioned on Monday Night Football that if you follow the (months old, now stale) breadcrumbs, he appears to have set himself up to move on from the Patriots in the near future. 

Brady's contract expires after the 2019 season. His home is up for sale, as is the home of his trainer and business partner Alex Guerrero.

When asked if he knew what his future would hold, he said, "I don't know." 

"One day I'll wake up and feel like, 'OK, that'll be enough.' When that day comes, that day comes," Brady said. "I don't know if that'll be after this year. I don't know if that'll be five years from now.

"But I don't have to determine those things right now, either. That's kind of a good part of where I'm at. I think just take advantage of the opportunity I have this year, do the very best I can do and then those decisions come at probably more appropriate times."

Brady, of course, has never slammed the door shut on any possibility when it comes to his career path. But for a long time now he's left the door swung wide open to continue playing for multiple years after this one. Now he's verbalized that things may not actually play out that way. This year could be it. 

Brady called his situation with the Patriots "unique," which of course it is. He's been with the team for 20 years. He's into his early 40s, still one of the best players in the game, and yet there are those much younger than him who have contracts that he'd probably like to have. 

Now, with the way his current deal is structured, he'll have the ability to hit free agency for the first time in his career once the 2019 league year ends. 

"I think that's been a unique situation that I've been in because I think when you commit to a team for a certain amount of years, you kind of feel like your responsibility is to always fulfill the contract," Brady said. "For me, I'm just, it's been good because I'm just taking it day by day and I'm enjoying what I have. I don't know what the future holds.

"The great part is, for me, football at this point is all borrowed time. I never expected to play 20 years. I'm playing on a great team. It's just been an incredible 20 years of my life. To play for Mr. Kraft and Jonathan, the Kraft family and Coach Belichick and to have so much success is a dream come true."

Now the end of that contract — one of many team-friendly ones over the course of his career — is in sight. And even he's not sure what comes next.

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Jonathan Kraft shares inside story of Patriots plane bringing masks from China

Jonathan Kraft shares inside story of Patriots plane bringing masks from China

The New England Patriots, owner Robert Kraft and president Jonathan Kraft teamed up with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to transport over 1 million N95 protective masks from China to the United States on Thursday.

That's the headline. But there's a whole lot more to the story.

Jonathan Kraft joined 98.5 The Sports Hub on Friday to share more details on the elaborate, multi-day process that led to the Patriots commissioning their team plane to bring much-needed supplies back to Massachusetts to aid health care workers in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

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According to Kraft, the plan all started when Baker called him while he was in a virtual meeting with the Massachusetts General Hospital finance committee. (Kraft is a member of the MGH Board of Trustees.)

"The governor said to me, 'I am so ---ing frustrated. ... I have had a couple of big batches of PPE (personal protective equipment), and at the end of the day they just haven't come through,' " Kraft said.

"And (Baker) said, 'We just through a third party secured well over 1 million masks, N95s, in China. But we have no way of getting them here. The supply chains are totally frozen. Do you think people who have airplanes would be willing to fly over?"

That's when Kraft had the idea to use the Patriots' team plane, a wide-body Boeing 767 that's bigger than most commercial jets.

"I said, 'You know what, our team flies around on a 767 ... and we have a huge cargo hold on that," Kraft told Baker.

Fast forward to this week, when the "Air Kraft" was en route to China via an overnight stop in Alaska. But a host of logistics had to be worked out before then, from getting special permission from the FAA to fly a "humanitarian mission" to securing a safe landing zone in China -- to making sure the plane was ready for a such a long flight.

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"First, we had to make sure the plane was equipped with the right software. It needed one upgrade," Kraft said.

Once the plane landed in Shenzen, China, there was another logistical challenge: The plane could only be on the ground for three hours, and no one could leave the plane during that period due to concerns over contracting the virus.

"If we had a maintenance or a tech issue, our maintenance or tech guys couldn't have gotten off the plane to correct it," Kraft said. "Once the pilots left the plane, they would need to be in quarantine for 14 days."

What followed was a three-hour rush to load roughly 1.2 million masks onto the Patriots' team plane that was barely completed in time.

"It was like a NASCAR pit stop," Kraft said. "Fortunately we didn't have any mechanical issues, and we got it done with about three or four minutes to spare and got back in the air for what was a nine-hour flight back (to Alaska)."

That's just a sampling of the details Kraft shared about the incredible trip, which ended successfully Thursday night when the Air Kraft landed at Boston's Logan Airport. (Kraft's full interview is worth a listen.)

But the journey ultimately was a success, and Mass. health care workers are certainly grateful as confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to climb.

Rex Ryan: Tua Tagovailoa is 'biggest gamble in the history of the NFL Draft'

Rex Ryan: Tua Tagovailoa is 'biggest gamble in the history of the NFL Draft'

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is perhaps the most intriguing player in the 2020 NFL Draft.

He has immense talent, with the ability to make plays with both his arm and legs. Tagovailoa helped Alabama win a College Football Playoff National Championship in 2016 and lost only two games as a starter in three seasons.

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Tagovailoa wasn't able to finish the 2019 campaign due to a hip injury. He also suffered injuries to his finger, quad and knee, among others, during his Alabama career. So, his injury history is a real concern and something that teams must evaluate closely before drafting him, especially in the top 10. Spendng a high first-round pick on a quarterback who's unable to realize his full potential because he can't stay healthy has the possibility to set back a franchise for many years.

Former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst Rex Ryan said Friday on "Get Up!" that Tagovailoa is "biggest gamble in the history of the NFL Draft."

Check out his reasoning in the video below:

There are four quarterbacks likely to be selected in the first round of the 2020 draft. 

The first should be Joe Burrow, who led LSU to an undefeated national title-winning season and also won the Heisman Trophy. You could make a strong case, based on Burrow's 2019 stats, that he had the greatest individual season in college football history. The Cincinnati Bengals would be incredibly foolish to pass on him with the No. 1 overall pick.

Tagovailoa could be the next quarterback off the board. The Miami Dolphins with pick No. 5 and the Los Angeles Chargers with pick No. 6 both need a franchise quarterback. After Tagovailoa, Oregon's Justin Herbert and Utah State's Jordan Love have been projected to be selected in Round 1. Herbert is a likely top 10 pick. Love's landing spot is more difficult to predict, and some mock drafts have had him going to the New England Patriots at 23rd overall.

Tagovailoa has the ability to be the best quarterback in this draft class, but he's also among the riskiest players based on his injury history. It will be fascinating to see which team decides to take the gamble and bet on Tagovailoa fulfilling his impressive potential.