Tom Brady sounds like he definitely plans on playing in the NFL next season when he'll be 43

At some point in time, Tom Brady will eventually retire, but it doesn't sound like that will be happening in 2020. 

During an interview with Jim Gray on Westwood One Sports radio this week, Brady made it pretty clear that he would like to be playing in the NFL next season when he'll be 43 years old. 

"I think I've said for a long time, my tune hasn't changed, so, I hope to continue playing," Brady said. "I've had long-term goals, I've had short-term goals, and again, football is a contact sport, so, you never know when your last game is going to be and you count your blessings every time you walk off the field healthy."

Although Brady was asked if he would be returning next year, he wasn't asked if he'll be returning to New England, which is arguably the more intriguing question, especially considering the quarterback's situation. For the first time in Brady's 20-year career, he'll be going into the offseason with his future completely up in the air. Brady's contract with the Patriots is set to expire at the 2019 season, and after that, if he wants to keep playing, he'll basically have two options: Stay in New England or sign with another team. 

CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, who wrote about the quarterback's future in October, actually has an explanation for why Brady doesn't have a new deal yet. According to La Canfora, a big reason Brady isn't under contract after this season is so that he has some flexibility should a new collective bargaining agreement be finalized over the next few months. A new CBA could have major ramifications on the salary cap -- it would likely go up -- which would put Brady in a place where he could cash-in with either the Patriots or another team. If Brady doesn't return to New England, La Canfora reported that he could potentially eye a return to his home state of California by signing with the Chargers

The fact of the matter is that for the first time in his career, there's no guarantee that he'll be returning to New England. Of course, Brady probably isn't going worry about his future -- or even talk about it -- until after the Patriots' 2019 season ends, and based on the way things are going, that won't be happening anytime soon. 

If the Patriots beat the Dolphins on Sunday, that will lock up the No. 2 seed in the AFC, which will give them a first-round bye in the playoffs. With a bye under their belt, that means that Patriots season will last until at least mid-January, if not longer. 

One thing is for sure though, if the Patriots make it to the Super Bowl, Brady will definitely be facing a constant barrage of questions about his future during the lead up to the game. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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