Tom Brady's agent rebuffs retirement rumors, says he still wants to play into mid-40s

It's been a chaotic offseason for the perpetually stable New England Patriots, who not only got gutted in free agency, but also proceeded to trade away WR1 Brandin Cooks. Now, they await word from superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski regarding his potential retirement. At the very least, the Patriots will still have Tom Brady, who will indeed return for the 2018 season and a few more years beyond, despite an odd retirement rumor that surfaced last week.

On Monday, Brady's agent, Don Yee, rejected the notion that Brady might decide to retire in the near future, saying his client still plans to play football into his mid-40s or until his quality of play degrades to a point where he's no longer the Tom Brady we've all come to know over the past couple decades. 

"Tom's intentions have not changed," Yee said, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. "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."

He's still training, even if he did skip the start of offseason activities with the Patriots.

"He customizes his preparation to each season in order to maximize his performance," Yee said. "His training methods are always evolving and getting better. The year he missed the first four games -- that month of training on his own was particularly efficient.

In other words, don't expect Brady to retire anytime soon -- even though he did sound like someone who was considering stepping away from the game in the near future, even after a recent report said that Brady hasn't yet committed to returning for the 2018 season. Brady will turn 41 in August, so he's got a few more seasons to go until he hits mid-40s. Meanwhile, his quality of play hasn't slipped as he's aged. He's coming off a season in which he won league MVP at the age of 40, threw for 4,577 yards, 32 touchdowns, and eight interceptions, and led the Patriots back to the Super Bowl

Still, that doesn't mean the Patriots won't begin planning for the life after Brady. Patriots owner Robert Kraft acknowledged they "obviously" have to consider targeting a quarterback in this year's draft. When the Patriots shipped Cooks to Los Angeles and picked up the Rams' first-round pick in the process, they unofficially entered the quarterback market. With one of their two first-round picks (No. 23 and No. 31), the Patriots could be eyeing a quarterback. They're reportedly interested in UCLA's Josh Rosen and "intrigued and impressed" with Louisville's Lamar Jackson. Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph -- often regarded as the sixth-best quarterback in the draft -- could also be in play at No. 31. But if the Patriots do draft a quarterback, that doesn't mean they'll play him right away. It'll likely be a Jimmy Garoppolo-like situation again, though this time the Patriots probably won't give him away for a second-round pick.

On that note, Yee was also asked what Brady thinks about his contract, which expires after the 2019 season. While Garoppolo is earning an average salary of $27.5 million with the 49ers, Brady's average salary is set at $20.5 million.

"His objective every year is to outperform his contract and his own goals," Yee said. "And like every player, yes, he thinks about his contract -- it's a pretty natural thing to do. Every team's management knows this."

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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