New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says he is planning to retire “sooner rather than later”.
Brady, who turns 41 in August, is currently preparing for his 19th NFL season with the Patriots.
The reigning NFL MVP still appears to be at the peak of his powers, having led New England to the Super Bowl in three of the past four seasons, winning twice.
Brady said in May of last year that he had a desire to play into his mid-40s, adding then that “naturally that means around 45”, but his thinking appears to have changed over the past year.
“I think about it more now than I used to. I think I’m seeing that there’s definitely an end coming, sooner rather than later,” Brady said, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey which aired on Sunday.
Asked if that would be at 43 or 45 years old, Brady answered: “As long as I am still loving it. As long as I’m loving the training and preparation and willing to make the commitment.
“But it’s also (that) I think what I’ve alluded to a lot in the [Tom vs. Time] docuseries was there are other things happening in my life too. I do have [three] kids that I love, and I don’t want to be a dad that’s not there driving my kids to their games.
“I think my kids have brought a great perspective in my life, because kids just want the attention.
“You better be there and be available to them, or else they’re going to look back on their life and go, ‘Dad didn’t really care that much.'”
Brady, along with All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, has been absent for all of the Patriots’ voluntary workouts this offseason.
That is a break from the norm for the three-time MVP and has helped fuel rumours that a rift has developed between himself and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
The pair are said to have disagreed after Brady’s body coach Alex Guerrero has had his access to Patriots players and facilities restricted at Belichick’s request.
Brady was asked by Winfrey if there is “something going on with you and [coach Bill] Belichick?”
He replied: “Umm, no. I mean, I love him. I love that he’s an incredible coach, mentor for me. And he’s pushed me in a lot of ways. Like everything, we don’t agree on absolutely everything. But that’s relationships.”
When asked if he now trains separately from the rest of the team, Brady answered: “No, I would not say that, but I probably do some of my own techniques differently from the rest of the team.
“The team, I would say, like most teams are very systematic in their approach. And what I learned, I guess, is different from some of the things that are systematic but that work for me.
“It’s nothing that I don’t talk about with my coach and owner — ‘This is what I want to do; this is what I need to be the best player I can be and hopefully you can support that.'”