There are so many superlatives that one can use for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.
He has won seven Super Bowls, set pretty much every NFL passing record, including the most recent one of yards passing at more than 80,000 yards and counting.
But Brady, who’s 44 years old and in his 22nd season, did something last Sunday that he had never done before in his storied NFL career: He threw for more than 400 yards and five touchdowns in Tampa Bay’s 45-17 win over the Miami Dolphins.
This is what the Eagles will be facing Thursday night.
Brady’s career nearly encompasses the entire life of Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who’s 23. Hurts wasn’t even 2 when Brady was drafted by the New England Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 draft.
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But Hurts wasn’t interested in reminiscing about watching Brady play throughout his childhood.
“He’s obviously been in the league for a very long time, done a lot of great things,” Hurts said. “So obviously a lot of respect for him.”
It’s no secret as to why Brady has continued to shine in middle age. In fact, he has thrown for almost as many yards and touchdowns in his 40s (19,389 yards, 140 TDs) than he had in his 20s (21,564, 147).
“Nothing surprises me with Tom,” said Bucs coach Bruce Arians, who indicated Brady would play despite a thumb injury. “Every single day, he comes to practice, it’s like he’s 12 years old … Sometimes I think it’s Jack, his son, out there practicing. He’s having so much fun. Just what he does at his age is amazing. Age is not a thing with him.”
Added defensive tackle Fletcher Cox: “It’s always a challenge playing against him. He’s really good at taking the checkdown. He’s really good at getting the ball to who’s open.”
The Bucs, of course, have several receivers who can get open, led by Mike Evans, Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin.
“I think in a lot of ways, I am amazed because it’s really unprecedented,” Godwin told The News Journal. “There hasn’t been anybody at quarterback who has done what he’s done for as long as he’s done it. That in itself is amazing.
“But for me, when I see how hard he works, day in and day out, when I see his attention to detail and how much he cares about the game, how much he cares about his teammates, then there’s no surprise as to why he’s been as successful as he’s been.”
Brady is also personable, something Godwin discovered in the spring of 2020 when Brady signed with the Buccaneers. Godwin wrote in a guest column for Football Morning In America during the summer that Brady, who went to Michigan, sent him a direct message shortly after signing.
Brady joked about Godwin going to Big Ten rival Penn State. He also congratulated Godwin on his engagement (he got married this past spring).
“He’s a really great guy,” Godwin said. “For someone as accomplished as he is, he’s very down to earth. He’s just one of the guys … He’s been in the league for 22 years, and he can relate to guys half his age, and I think that’s very special.”
Contact Martin Frank at [email protected] Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.