We may not see Tom Brady in the 2027 Super Bowl, after all.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht first planted the seed of his quarterback playing until age 50, telling "The Rich Eisen Show" last month that Brady had given no hint about when he may retire.
"I told him if he wants to play until he’s 50, and he’s still playing and he feels like he can still play, he can play until he’s 50," Licht said.
But that timeline might be too aggressive even for the ageless Brady, who won his seventh Super Bowl title in February at 43.
"50? That’s a long time. Even for me, that’s a long time," Brady told USA TODAY Sports' Jori Epstein.
The former New England Patriots quarterback then suggested he could call it quits after the 2022 season.
"I’ve always said 45 was the age that I wanted to reach and that was my goal," Brady said. "This year I’ll be 44, so next year I’ll be 45. I got a two-year contract."
Brady and the Bucs agreed to a two-year contract in March that many assumed would be his last given his target date of 45. But Patriots fans (and New England's head coach) who watched Brady continue to dominate into his late 30s and early 40s know better than to put a timeline on his retirement -- and it sounds like he's still keeping his options open.
"If I still want to keep playing, I might be able to do that," Brady said. "And if that’s enough, then that would be enough. ... I’ll just have to evaluate all that when it comes."
Brady underwent knee surgery this offseason, so the signs of wear and tear are there, and his health will be worth monitoring as the Bucs gear up for a title defense. Brady also is set to return to New England in Week 4 for what very well could be his last game at Gillette Stadium.