Belichick sees Brady playing at 50: 'If anybody can do it, he probably can'
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had effusive praise during his press conference Wednesday for quarterback Tom Brady, whom he'll face off against for the first time Sunday night when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit Gillette Stadium.
Belichick acknowledged he has a difficult assignment heading into a chess match with the longtime passer he drafted and coached for 20 years.
"Tough as any quarterback there is or ever has been, enough said," Belichick said when asked how difficult it would be to defend Brady.
"His numbers are incredible. He's about to pass the all-time passing record. He's done more than any other player at that position in whatever measurement you want to take, whether it's yards, completions, touchdowns, championships. You name it. ... Doesn't get any tougher than him."
Brady and Belichick split after the 2019 campaign, and the signal-caller went on to flourish in Florida, winning the Super Bowl in their one season apart. Belichick called Brady's career "unbelievable" and marveled at his ability to play at an elite level into his mid-40s.
"Nothing Tom does surprises me. He's a great player. Works hard, takes care of himself. He's talking about playing until 50. If anybody can do it, he probably can," he said.
Sunday's game could feature a bit of cat and mouse, as Brady and Belichick have unique institutional knowledge of how the other operates.
"I think there's a little bit of that with anybody that you play, other coaches, other players. Certainly, Tom has an intimate knowledge of everything that we do here, more so than any other player in the league by far. I'm sure he'll use it to his advantage, I would expect him to," Belichick said.
Their separation was reportedly a contentious one, with Belichick turning down Brady's request to say goodbye face-to-face and choosing to speak over the phone instead, according to ESPN's Seth Wickersham. Belichick denied that report and said he's looking forward to the challenge of facing his former players, including tight end Rob Gronkowski, in Week 4's marquee matchup.
"No that's not true, and I heard a few things about this book, and it sounds like it's a lot of second-, third-, and fourth-hand comments, but I'm not going to get into that. I'm going to focus on this game," Belichick said.