Gray hairs aside, aura of Tom Brady defying age is almost as strong as his championship game

Terez Paylor
Senior NFL writer

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Shortly after the New England Patriots touched down in Michigan for a trio of joint practices with Detroit, Lions general manager Bob Quinn found himself making a silent observation during a conversation with Tom Brady.

“He does,” Quinn, a former longtime personnel man in New England, told Yahoo Sports when asked if the 42-year-old Patriots quarterback is looking spry these days.

“He definitely looks like he’s in great physical condition.”

Such is the magic of Brady, a.k.a. The G.O.A.T. No quarterback in the history of the game can match his six championship rings, and despite his advanced age as he enters his 20th professional season, the five-time All-Pro isn’t showing many signs of decline.

Tom Brady's physical fitness isn't a problem entering his 20th NFL season. (Getty Images)

Brady was solid as ever last season, completing 65.8 percent of his passes for 4,355 yards, 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while earning his 10th straight Pro Bowl nod and second championship ring in three years.

Brady, to be sure, could have gone out on top. But he has stated he plans to play until he’s 45, and thanks to his intense workout regiment — chronicled in his 2017 book, “The TB12 Method” — he looks as youthful as ever.

“You've got to take care of your body — I wrote a book on it, literally,” Brady said this week. “I live by it and I think it's given me pretty good results. I try to pass it on to the next generation so they don't have to go on through the same mistakes that I did, but everyone learns different ways. Hopefully, I can be an inspiration. I got a great opportunity to prove to a lot of people that didn't think I could do it. Hopefully, I can. Well done is better than well said.”

Brady is nailing down the inspiration part, as his durability never ceases to amaze those who are around him practically every day. Take Brady’s backup, Brian Hoyer, for instance, who at 33 years old is an NFL veteran in his own right. On Brady’s birthday a few days ago, Hoyer texted his friend and teammate to wish him a happy birthday.

“I said, ‘Hey, other than a few gray hairs, you seem just as young to me now as you were when I met you 11 years ago, and I really mean it,’” Hoyer told Yahoo Sports. “I think it’s a proven fact that he really takes care of himself in every form or fashion ... workouts, preparation, what he eats, all those things.”

Brady’s commitment to his craft is enough to inspire any football player, even a veteran like Hoyer, who insists he can’t remember the last time he has seen Brady tired.

“Look, I’m gonna be 34 — there’s days where I’m tired and I see him and I’m like, ‘Well, I can’t be tired if this 42-year-old man isn’t tired.’” Hoyer said.

“So it’s kind of an inspiration, and it’s also something you want to compete against. His competitiveness and the way he comes out here prepared every day, I think that makes everybody be like, ‘Man, if he’s doing it, then we gotta do it too.’”

Tom Brady laughs with receiver Matthew Slater (18) after drills at the Lions' football training facility on Wednesday. (AP)

That includes his opponents, like Matthew Stafford. The 31-year-old Lions quarterback has had a respectable NFL career over 10 seasons, but even he couldn’t be mad about fielding multiple questions about Brady over the past few days as their teams squared off at Allen Park.

“I get it,” Stafford told Yahoo Sports. “I mean, the guy’s an incredible player, he’s led his team to a bunch of championships, he’s obviously a great leader, been watching him for a long time. You know, we all have ... and it’s incredible what he can do and still play at an extremely high level.”

And the thing Stafford, who has quietly put together the sixth-longest consecutive starts streak in NFL history (128), respects most is Brady’s availability. Since a torn ACL wiped out his 2008 campaign in the season opener, Brady has started a remarkable 156 of 160 possible games, with the four missing games coming due to deflate-gate.

“I think one of the main qualities of a quarterback is being available, knowing that every Monday, when you walk in the locker room, you know that the guy that played quarterback last week is gonna do everything he can to play quarterback again next week,” Stafford said.

Interestingly enough, neither Hoyer or Quinn follow the TB12 method, per se. But Hoyer says he has learned a lot from Brady about how to take care of himself, and Quinn, the Lions’ youthful-looking boss, can’t help but be reminded of the effectiveness of Brady’s methods whenever he sees him in person, as he did this week.

“He’s a year younger than me,” Quinn said, shaking his head. “He’s always looked better than me, and he still does.”

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