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In an ordinary NFL season, we’d be talking about the New England Patriots’ inevitable march to the Super Bowl. This year, however, things are a bit different. Not only did the team crash out of the playoffs on Wild Card Weekend, but quarterback Tom Brady’s future is in doubt. The veteran is set to become a free agent, meaning his time in New England might be coming to an end.

While football fans everywhere are waiting for his decision with bated breath, they’ll need to be patient. We might not know Brady’s full plans for quite some time.

The New England Patriots’ difficult 2019 campaign

While the New England Patriots have been a modern football dynasty, things weren’t quite the same in 2019. While Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were still in Foxboro, the team never truly looked dominant.

The Patriots finished the regular season 12-4, but that record belies some roster issues that hamstrung the club. On offense, Belichick never properly replaced Rob Gronkowski. Without his big tight end, Tom Brady found himself without many options. Opposing defenses knew that they could double-team Julian Edelman without fear and  Mohamed Sanu never hit his stride, forcing Brady to throw to an assortment of random receivers; unsurprisingly, the veteran quarterback’s numbers suffered. He appeared visibly frustrated with his offense and even publicly said he was “frustrated” with the unit.

Those struggles seemed to dovetail with rumors that the veteran quarterback was getting ready to leave the Patriots. After the team’s playoff exit, though, we’re still waiting for a meaningful update from either party.

Why Tom Brady isn’t expecting a quick resolution

Football fans everywhere have been waiting for an update on Tom Brady’s future. The quarterback, however, insists that there won’t be any movement soon; the business side of the NFL simply doesn’t work that way.

“We are a week removed from the end of our season,” Brady explained during his weekly radio appearance on Westwood One. “There is a lot of time to figure these things out. I don’t think any player or team is ready to make any commitments at this point, and I’m sure as the offseason progresses, those things will take care of themselves.”

“The contract things, a week after the season, I would say these things haven’t even started to pick up,” the quarterback continued. “It’s really not my concern at this point. … I can only say how I feel, and that’s what’s the truth to me and what’s authentic to me. And I have no decision that I have made, and there won’t be for some considerable time. So I know there is speculation; there always is. That’s just part of being in professional sports; that’s part of being a professional athlete.”

Retirement, however, doesn’t seem likely

While no one is quite sure what Tom Brady’s future holds, one thing seems clear: the quarterback, at least as of now, isn’t ready for retirement.

In an Instagram post thanking Patriots fans, the quarterback spoke competition, proving yourself, and rebounding from failure; during his radio interview, he clarified what he still wanted to prove.

“It’s always been proving it to myself and being motivated internally to push myself to the limits. Sometimes the limits push back. I’ve experienced that,” Brady explained. “But I also think I’m inspired by so many people who push the limits. I love watching documentaries of incredible human feats. They’re inspiring. People climb these mountains and do things that people never thought were possible. I’m at a certain point in my career where people think what I’m doing is to a degree impossible.”

That doesn’t sound like a man who’s ready to retire. It might take some time to sort out all the details, but it certainly seems like Tom Brady will still be playing in the NFL next season.