Tom Brady might be feeling anxious about life after football, but the veteran quarterback still has ample time before that next chapter arrives, according to former longtime Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber.
"Tom is what Tom is. Tom's the type of player, in my mind, who can do it as long as he wants to because of how well he takes care of himself," Barber told the Tiki and Tierney show on Friday. "If you know his people, his training staff, Alex Guerrero, a guy who's with him now -- I see him all the time when I'm down here [in Tampa] -- he's taking care of himself. So, as long as his level of play doesn't drop, Tom Brady is still going to be Tom Brady. Until his arm completely gives out, which it hasn't, you just expect him to continue to do what he does. He has great weapons to work with.
"This is a football team that can win. You know Tampa football because you've known me all these years, from being down here in Tampa. You know what it's been like to be a Tampa fan and player for all these years. So, if Tom's going to do it, everybody's going to do it. And that's kind of the feel that I get it..."
Brady, who completed 21 of 29 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns in Tampa Bay's blowout win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55, agreed to a one-year extension with the franchise back in March that will take him through the 2022 season. NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero reported details on Brady's new deal, which includes $50 million over another two years.
The Buccaneers will open the 2021 regular season at home against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, Sept. 9, and according to the William Hill Sportsbook, Tampa Bay currently has the second-best odds (+650) to win Super Bowl 56 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
In the NFL, repeating as champions is no easy feat. The last franchise to win back-to-back Super Bowls was the New England Patriots, following the 2003 and 2004 seasons, led by none other than Brady.
Are the Buccaneers fully equipped to defend their title? Barber believes so.
"I think they have enough guys on their team that've made enough money, that all they want to do is continue to win," Barber said. "So, when you can get as many guys as they did -- 22 starters coming back -- you get that many guys to come back, it's because they want to win again. They feel like they can win again. And I've said it many times over the past couple of months: the last eight, nine weeks of the season, there wasn't a better team in football. They should've won a Super Bowl.
"I absolutely believe they can win... This is a team that's complete, and it's still the same team that won a Super Bowl last year. And that's different. Every year, 25-percent or x-percent of rosters turn over. This team has so many of the guys back... They think they can do it again, and they should think that they can do it again. I have all the faith in the world..."
Since the Buccaneers didn't win the NFC South title last season, their 2021 strength of schedule is the fourth-easiest in the NFL. The combined 2020 record of Tampa Bay's opponents is 126-145-1, which comes out to a .465 winning percentage.
The entire conversation between Barber and Tiki and Tierney can be accessed in the audio player above.