In 2003, the New England Patriots drafted Dan Klecko in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Klecko spent the first three seasons of his career in New England, winning two Super Bowls, and played in the NFL until 2010.
In other words, Klecko entered the NFL after Tom Brady, and he left the NFL over 10 years ago – and Brady is still going strong.
“Look, the greatest football player [debate], to me, waved bye-bye long ago,” Klecko said on The DA Show. “He’s been the greatest football player to me since he beat Seattle [in Super Bowl XLIX]. Now he enters the GOAT of all GOATS conversation – the Michael Jordans, the Wayne Gretzkys. To me, that’s where Tom is now. We’re not worried about the NFL anymore. This guy is perhaps the greatest athlete we’ve ever seen play sports.”
Klecko helped the Patriots to Super Bowl titles in each of his first two seasons. When Klecko was drafted, New England was coming off of a 9-7 season.
“When I got there, they had just missed the playoffs and [were] two years removed from the Super Bowl,” Klecko said. “So he wasn’t Tom yet. He was still the sixth-round pick that was going to have to always prove himself. But as I watched him grow and watched him become a better football player, the things you see now on the field – his fire and his competitiveness – was just as strong then. That’s the most remarkable part: the fact that he’s just been able to put the energy and the effort into being what he is for 20 straight years.”
Indeed, Brady’s NFL longevity is unmatched. So is his success. He will play in his tenth Super Bowl on Feb. 7.
“The exhaustion after a season is real,” Klecko said. “It’s tough to get through 20, 25 weeks of football and still have that energy – and he has just been amazing. You used to see it in practice, you’d see it in games – every little thing with Tom is a competition. He makes you raise that level and get on his level, or you’re not going to be there.”