Foxborough, Mass. — Tom Brady is making one thing clear as he prepares for his 19th NFL season: He doesn’t plan to stop playing football anytime soon.
In the epilogue of his seven-part Facebook Watch documentary series “Tom Vs. Time” released on Wednesday, the 41-year-old Patriots quarterback reiterated his desire to play at least five more years.
“I’d love to play 41, 42, 43, 44, 45,” Brady said. “It’ll be a challenge for me. I don’t think it’s going to be easy. It’s going to be hard to do. I think it’s going to be very hard to do. But I think I can do it. And once you stop, you’re done. And I think I’m not ready to say that I’m done, because I don’t feel like I am. I still feel like there’s things to accomplish. … It was really hard to get to this point. Why not finish it off?”
New England opens its 2018 season Sunday against Houston.
Despite winning five Super Bowls and becoming the oldest player ever to win MVP honors last season at age 40, Brady said he thinks there’s another level he can reach.
“I think the last eight years of my career have been better than my first 10, so I should just prolong it, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” he said.
Since its debut in January, “Tom Vs. Time” has provided viewers a glimpse into several behind-the-scenes moments with Brady on the field since he turned 40, as well as rare looks at his private life off the field.
This final episode also explored what Brady said is a new approach to certain aspects of NFL life, which includes ignoring the opinions people have of him.
At one point he seemed to address the criticism he’s received in recent seasons about his relationship with his personal health coach and business partner Alex Guerrero. During training camp, Brady called it “ridiculous” to suggest the suspension of Patriots receiver Julian Edelman is tied to his work with Guerrero. Those same questions about Guerrero prompted Brady to abruptly end his first media availability of camp.
“(The media wants) to talk about a lot of drama,” Brady said during the epilogue. “I’m sure a lot of teams have things like that. But ours is just to the tenth degree. I’m learning to do deal with it better.”
Brady also hinted at the rumored discord between him and coach Bill Belichick, which both have previously downplayed.
“I think anytime you’re together with people for a long period of time, relationships ebb and flow,” Brady said. “I think people are just looking for something to write and talk about. I just don’t give a (expletive) anymore that much about anything. … Nothing’s that big a deal to me anymore. Or maybe I’m just caring more about things that really matter — like my family, like people’s health, like life and death.
“But to worry about a lot of (expletive) of what people may say or think or feel — I really don’t care anymore.”
Thomas ends holdout
Seahawks safety Earl Thomas ended his lengthy holdout in time for the start of the regular season, even without the long-term contract he was seeking.
Thomas showed up at the Seahawks facility Wednesday morning and was welcomed back by his teammates. Coach Pete Carroll said he met briefly with Thomas, but wouldn’t commit to whether Thomas would play in the opener Sunday against Denver.
Thomas posted to Instagram Wednesday announcing his return, saying he’s never let his “teammates, city or fans down as long as I have lived and don’t plan to start this weekend.”
The post was a surprising conclusion to a long offseason of drama centered on whether Thomas would play out the final season of his contract, receive the extension he hoped for, or possibly be traded. Thomas’ reaction to the lack of a resolution was clear in his post: “The disrespect has been noted and will not be forgotten.”
Bell’s absence wears thin
Le’Veon Bell’s teammates spent the offseason and all of training camp brushing off his absence, confident in their belief that the Steelers All-Pro running back and former Michigan State star would eventually let the business side of things play out, sign his franchise tender and be at work when things start to get real.
Time to worry. And vent.
Bell’s chair remained tucked neatly into his locker on Wednesday, meaning he will almost certainly not be available when the Steelers open the season in Cleveland this weekend.
“Honestly it’s a little selfish,” said center Maurkice Pouncey, a captain who had predicted Bell would arrive by Wednesday. “I’m kind of (ticked) right now. It sucks that he’s not here. We’ll move on as a team. It doesn’t look like he’ll be in the game plan at this point.”
Veteran offensive guard Ramon Foster poked a little fun at Bell on social media, tweeting out a picture of Bell’s head attached to the body of the character from the “Where’s Waldo” line of children’s books.
“What do you do?” Foster said. “Here’s a guy who doesn’t give a damn, so I guess we’ll treat it as such. I just hate it came to this.”
It’s going to be much easier to watch NFL games online this year. The league is finally dropping a requirement that viewers sign in with a cable or satellite subscription, in hopes of expanding its online audience at a time when TV ratings are declining . Though there are restrictions — no free streaming on smart TVs, for instance — the move marks a significant departure for sports. Other major professional leagues still require TV subscriptions for hometown teams.
The subscription-free games will be available on the NFL app and the Verizon-owned Yahoo Sports, Tumblr and AOL apps in the U.S. On iPhones and iPads, the games can also be streamed on the Safari web browser.
Australian Jordan Mailata has made the cut for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster less than a year after first putting on a helmet. At 6-foot-8 and more than 350 pounds, the 21-year-old offensive tackle turned to the NFL after being deemed “too big” for rugby.
... Seahawks rookie Shaquem Griffin, who had his left hand amputated as a child, will start at weakside linebacker when Seattle opens the regular season at Denver on Sunday
... Chiefs safety Eric Berry is day to day with a heel injury that has kept him out most of training camp, and his status for Sunday’s opener against the Chargers remains in question.
... The Saints waived rookie running back Boston Scott and signed offensive lineman Michael Ola.