Bills fans let out a collective sigh in March when Patriots owner Robert Kraft mentioned that all-world quarterback Tom Brady wants to play another 6 or 7 years.
Brady turns 40 in August but follows a strict diet and remains in good health (and at the top of his game), which lends credence to the idea that he could play another several seasons. But Brady's wife, model Gisele Bundchen, dropped an unexpected revelation this week about his concussion history, marking the only indication so far that could lead you to think Brady might consider hanging 'em up sooner rather than later.
"He had a concussion last year," Bundchen told CBS This Morning Wednesday. "I mean, he has concussions pretty much – I mean, we don't talk about it, but he does have concussions.
"I don't really think it's a healthy thing for your body to go through like, you know, through that kind of aggression, like, all the time," she added. "That cannot be healthy for you, right? And I'm planning on having him be healthy and do a lot of fun things when we're like, 100, I hope."
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) May 17, 2017
Knowing what we know about brain injuries, it's hard to believe someone could play 17 years of professional football without sustaining one, but officially Brady has never had a "documented" concussion.
Assuming Bundchen is correct about her husband, that either means Brady hid the injury from doctors and trainers or the Patriots withheld the information from the injury report, which is a punishable offense. (The Seahawks were reportedly in jeopardy of losing a draft pick for failing to disclose an injury last season, though the NFL let them off with a warning.)
Brady didn't show up on last year's injury report until picking up a knee injury in Week 12. Had he been listed with a concussion, Brady would've been entered into the league's concussion protocol, which dictates when a player can return to practice and game activity. One flaw of the policy, though, is that unless a doctor or concussion spotter identifies a potential head injury during a game, it relies on the players to self-report symptoms.
"It’s a very important topic," Brady told ABC News last year about head injuries. "If you are going to put yourself kind of in the line of fire, so to speak, you better educate yourself.
"I think there’s been more awareness from the general media on what CTE (the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is, how it affects you, the long term ramifications of it," he added. "I think, as an athlete, you have to take all those things into consideration and try to be as proactive as you can. Gain information, then go through the proper protocols if you do get a concussion."
So what does this mean for the Bills? Nothing, in the short term. But it's the only indication so far that maybe, possibly, there's been thought in Brady's inner circle about preserving his body for life after football. The Bills haven't made the playoffs since Brady entered the league.