And then there was one.
With longtime kicker Sebastian Janikowski announcing his retirement on Sunday at age 41, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is now the only player left in the league who was picked in the 2000 NFL draft, according to Yahoo.
The 41 year old previously said he wants to keep playing until his mid-forties, and he is still a force on the field, having won his sixth Super Bowl championship in February — the most all-time for a quarterback.
“It’ll be a challenge for me. I don’t think it’s going to be easy,” Brady said of playing until he is 45 during an episode of his Facebook show, Tom vs. Time. “I think it’s going to be very hard to do. Once you stop, you’re done, and I think I’m not ready to say that I’m done because I don’t feel like I am.”
“I still feel like there are things to accomplish. It’d be like getting close to the top of the mountain and say, ‘Ah, that’s good. I’m good.’ No, I worked really hard to get to this point,” he continued. “Why not finish it off? I think the last eight years of my career have been better than the first 10, so I should just prolong it. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Brady is widely considered the greatest quarterback of all time and has a had a more successful career as an individual than most franchises have had since their inception (there are four teams that have not made it to even a single Super Bowl).
But this incredible career was something no one could have predicted back in the 2000 draft, which saw Brady passed multiple times by every team in the league for other quarterbacks.
“It was hard,” Brady told ESPN in 2011. “I remember taking a walk with my dad and mom around the block …”
Six quarterbacks — Chad Pennington, Giovanni Carmazzi, Chris Redman, Tee Martin, Marc Bulger and Spergon Wynn — were all taken before Brady, until he finally joined the Patriots when the team selected him as the 199th pick in the sixth round of the draft.
Two seasons later, he would go on to start in the Super Bowl, earning his first of six wins so far.
As of now, while Brady might be the last person left from that draft class, he isn’t the oldest player left in the league. That title goes to Indianapolis Colts silver-haired kicker Adam Vinatieri, 46, who won three Super Bowls as Brady’s former teammate in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
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