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Will Tom Brady make playing beyond 40 more common for quarterbacks?

From Chris Jones taking on Tom Brady to Lamar Jackson squaring up against the Bills defense, Mike Florio and Chris Simms look ahead to key matchups in Week 4.

Before Tom Brady, not many quarterbacks actually played beyond the age of 40. With Brady will going strong at 45, it’s fair to wonder how many others will manage to keep going past the completion of four decades of existence.

On Thursday, Brady was asked generally about other quarterbacks playing as long as he has.

“It’s always important to have goals, because I think you should always have the ability to plan for things in your life and things you set out for,” Brady told reporters. “I remember talking with Drew [Brees] -- he had an incredible career and [was] incredibly productive, too. It’s just always nice talking to different guys and seeing what they’re doing. Obviously Patrick [Mahomes], what he’s done in his young career has been nothing short of exceptional. I’ve been very fortunate with an amazing support team and all the work that I do with Alex [Guerrero] to prepare my body. There’s still a lot mentally and emotionally that goes into it.

“As you know, as you get older the challenges become a little bit . . . it’s just more, there’s more responsibilities in your life. Navigating those things, that’s part of it, too. Like I said, all you can do is the best you can do based on the circumstances that are presented in front of you and try to give your best. You commit to the team and you do the best you can do. I think I’ve always tried to be a really dependable, consistent player for the team, and try to show up every day and do a good job.”

That’s what he’s done, for 23 seasons and counting. It helps that the rules have evolved to better protect quarterbacks. It helps that he has fully committed to health and fitness and recovery. It helps that he has a level of sheer determination that few others possess.

We’ll see if others can play past 40. We’ll see if they even want to. We’ll see if they can still play well enough to merit actually playing. For some, the spirit will be willing but the flesh will be weak. For others, the spirit will run out of gas. For others, the sheer amount of (to borrow Brady’s prior term) “shit going on” will keep it from continuing.

Regardless, it’s a dynamic that bears watching as the great quarterbacks in their 20s begin to approach 30 and then make the inevitable climb to 40 -- and maybe beyond.