On the 10-year anniversary of the devastating ACL injury that cost him nearly all of the 2008 season, Tom Brady took to the podium at Gillette Stadium on Friday afternoon rocking a T-shirt with the word "Pliability" across the front.
"That was the first real significant injury of my life," Brady recalled. "It was a tough contact injury."
Brady also recalled the surgery, staph infection and rehab that resulted from then-Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard crashing into his knee in the first quarter of the first game of the regular season. It was New England's first game following a crushing Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants that cost the team a perfect season.
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Brady, 41, has now played more years since the injury than he did before it. If the message from the epilogue of "Tom vs. Time" is any indication, the number of years he plays post-injury could double up the years beforehand by the time all is said and done.
Released on Wednesday, the 5-minute wrap-up of Brady's Facebook docuseries harps on the same thing he's been saying for years now: he wants to play into his mid-40s.
"I would love to play five more years," he said in the documentary. "It'd be a challenge for me. I don't think it's gonna be easy. It'd be hard to do. I think it's going to be very hard to do. But I think I can do it."
Pliability, of course, is a trademark of Brady's "TB12 Method" in conjunction with his controversial trainer, Alex Guerrero.
Much of the dissension within the ranks between Brady, head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft over the last year can be traced back to Guerrero's involvement with the team.
Guerrero was reportedly barred from flying on New England's team plane last season and also had his sideline privileges revoked, though he was allowed to fly with the team to North Carolina for its preseason game vs. the Panthers in August.
"Alex and I, we work together," Brady said Friday when asked about Guerrero. "I don't want to bring on any drama this year.
"I'm just focused on what I want to do and being a great football player for this team and trying to be a good example in the locker room and provide great leadership. That's where my focus is. I know oftentimes we want to talk about a lot of other things, but I just really want to stick to football and try being the best I can be for this team.”
But is Brady satisfied with Guerrero's current arrangement, the exact details of which remain unclear?
"Yeah, I'm a pretty mentally tough guy, so I've dealt with a lot of circumstances over a long period of time," Brady said. "I'm excited for this season. I'm really excited for where we're at and where we're going and what we've gotta do. There's a lot of challenges that we're going to face. I want to feel good and be the best quarterback I can be."
Brady reworked his contract in August, giving himself the chance to earn an extra $5 million in incentives on top of his $15 base salary. Per Spotrac, he'll be the 10th-highest paid quarterback in the NFL this season. Brady has always taken below market value so as to allow the roster around him to be up to snuff; this time around, without a cap figure that pays him like the MVP that he is (and was, in 2017, lest we forget), was getting some of his Guerrero-related perks back a quid pro quo?
It's also noteworthy that the deal came without any extension of his contract, currently set to expire at the end of the 2019 season. Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Devin McCourty are other key members of the Patriots whose contracts end after the '19 campaign.
If Brady meant what he said in the swan song of "Tom vs. Time," though, there's no need to fret about 2019 being the last stand of the New England dynasty. Like his wardrobe choice on Friday, Brady can continue to bend the expectations surrounding the greatest quarterback to ever play the game at an age where hardly any other passer has even been competent.