Patriots owner Robert Kraft and quarterback Tom Brady spoke as recently as two or three days ago.
And Brady, who turns 40 in August, reiterated what he has said on more than one occasion: He wants to play well into his fifth decade of life.
“He assured me he’d be willing to play six, seven more years and at the level he performed,” Kraft said Monday at the NFL meetings in Phoenix. “There’s no one that would be happier than I and our fan base.”
Brady is coming off a season in which he did the following: Set the league records for the best single-season touchdown-to-interception ratio (28-2) and most pass attempts to start a season without an interception (259, with help from Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett); finished with the second-highest completion percentage of his career (67.4); led the Patriots to the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history to win their fifth Lombardi Trophy. (Here is a list of all the records Brady helped break or tie in Super Bowl LI.)
Kraft on Monday, like Brady on many previous occasions, credits the quarterback’s diet and workout habits, recalling a story from 2002 to support his point.
“I remember after our first Super Bowl, going down in the training room in the old Foxboro Stadium three days after we won and he’s in there with the music blaring and working out, so he’s really dedicated,” Kraft said. “The thing that’s amazing about him, to this day, he hasn’t changed as a human being in terms of how he relates to people but also how he works out. The only thing that’s probably changed is how he eats, his diet.
“I’m not sure avocado ice cream is right for me, but if I could look like him and perform half as well, I guess I’d do it.
As for Bill Belichick, who turns 65 in April, Kraft hopes he is pushing 80 and still on the sidelines for New England.
“I hope he coaches until his 80s,” Kraft said. “I see Warren Buffett and Rupert Murdoch, they’re in their mid-80s. They’re performing at a pretty high level. We’ve got to keep Bill healthy.”
Watch: Robert Kraft’s meeting with reporters
Follow Rachel G. Bowers on Twitter @RachelGBowers.