New England Patriots

At 41, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is much closer to the end than the beginning.

The ‘Is this the end for Brady?’ question will dominate headlines every time Brady fails to perform at the GOAT-level he has for nearly two decades, too, and it’s been louder than ever over the last month as Brady’s health and numbers have taken an obvious hit.

But making a radio appearance with Jim Gray with Westwood One earlier this week, Brady put talk of ‘the end’ to bed, saying that he absolutely plans on playing next season.

“I absolutely believe I will [play in 2019],” Brady told Gray. “I have talked about it for a long time; I have goals not only to play next year, but beyond that. I am going to try and do it as best I possibly can. I am going to give it everything I have like I always have. It will certainly be a challenge. I don’t take any of these things for granted.

“But I hope I can keep playing and I hope I can keep playing at a championship level.”

This is not even close to a shock given Brady’s obvious desire to change the way we view an athlete’s longevity with his TB12 methods, and after agent Don Yee dispelled the notion that Brady was no longer committed to a long-term, on-field future after skipping out on the team’s OTAs.

“Tom’s intentions have not changed,” Yee told Schefter this past April. “He’s consistently said he’ll play beyond this contract and into his mid-40s, or until he feels he isn’t playing at a championship level. I understand the constant speculation, but this is one point he’s been firm about.”

For all of his struggles, Brady still enters the final week of the regular season with 25 touchdowns and 4,105 passing yards.

The Patriots, meanwhile, are 10-5 and can clinch a first-round bye with a win over the New York Jets on Sunday.