Former NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski apparently believes his longtime quarterback Tom Brady can play "forever."
Gronkowski was spotted by TMZ photographers leaving the restaurant Craig's in Los Angeles Wednesday (December 14) night and said he believes Brady is "gonna kill it" once he starts his FOX Sports NFL analyst role, but added that he wasn't sure when his actual retirement from playing would take place.
"That dude's a beast. He can go forever," Gronk said, joking that his former teammate could play until age 68.
Gronkowski announced his second retirement during the last NFL offseason, months after Brady -- his quarterback through his entire 11-year career with both the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- announced his retirement, then un-retirement ahead of his 23rd NFL season, his third with the Buccaneers.
Earlier this week, multiple sources close to the seven-time Super Bowl champion told NFL Network insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero that "all options are on the table for Brady, who at age 45 feels good enough to keep playing."
Brady, 45, is set to become a free agent for the second time in his 23-year NFL career, having previously signed with the Buccaneers in March 2020 after 20 seasons with the Patriots and may, once again, "look to move on for the right situation," according to Rapoport and Pelissero.
The Buccaneers dropped to 6-7 following a 35-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday (December 11), but are still first in the NFC South Division standings.
Last month, the Athletic's Jeff Howe (subscription needed) reported that Brady could return to the Patriots next offseason.
"Maybe it's a long shot," Howe wrote. "There might be better situations for Brady. But just when you think you've got [Patriots head coach Bill] Belichick figured out, he does something no one sees coming."
Brady is also set to become FOX Sports' lead analyst as part of a record-setting deal, which will take place "immediately following his playing career," according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post.
In May, Marchand reported Brady agreed to a 10-year, $375 million deal with FOX Sports, which is significantly larger than his $332,962,392 career earnings in contracts with the Patriots and Buccaneers during his NFL playing career, according to Spotrac.com.
It's worth noting that Brady has voluntarily taken a reduced salary throughout his playing career to free up his teams' cap space, which included accepting a restructured contract with the Bucs in April.
Brady is the NFL's all-time passing leader for yards and touchdowns, as well as quarterback wins, among numerous other records.
The San Mateo led the Patriots to an NFL record six Super Bowl championships (tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers), before leading Tampa Bay to a victory in Super Bowl LV during his first season with the franchise.
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