(Reuters) - New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said on Wednesday he hopes his five-times Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady will return for at least one more season.
Evergreen Brady, who at 41 will be appearing in his ninth Super Bowl on Feb. 3 when the Patriots face the Los Angeles Rams, has shown no signs of slowing down despite playing well past the age when quarterbacks tend to lose their efficiency.
Brady has also not indicated any imminent plans to retire and is approaching his 20th year with the team.
“In anything in life the key is getting good people around you ... once you have good people, the trick is to try to have continuity,” Kraft said on ABC’s Good Morning America.
“Please God, one more season that Tommy and (head coach) Bill Belichick, who are the best at what they do in my opinion, will be with us for 20 years — two decades.”
Given his advanced football age Brady has become accustomed to questions about when he will step away from the game and last month said his goal is to not only play next season but beyond that.
For Kraft, this will mark his 10th Super Bowl appearance since purchasing the Patriots in 1994 for $172 million and the ninth time he will do so with Brady and Belichick, who are the most successful quarterback-coach duo in NFL history.
Brady joined the Patriots when the team selected him with the 199th overall pick of the 2000 NFL Draft and has enjoyed an illustrious career during which many feel he has established himself as the greatest quarterback of all time.
Kraft, whose Patriots are now the NFL’s second-most valuable team with a value of $3.8 billion, said when it comes to Brady it is not the championships that impress him most.
“The thing that’s most impressive to me, he is still the same guy that he was when he came out of Michigan and I met him, that skinny beanpole coming down the steps with that great physique,” said Kraft.
“He is the nicest person, genuine. He’s the same person today as he was when he was fourth on the depth chart back there in 2000.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis