FOXBOROUGH (Massachusetts) • Tom Brady walked off the field at the end of his 20th National Football League (NFL) season and said he plans to be back for another, when he will be 43 years old.
If not in New England, then somewhere else.
The Patriots quarterback also insisted after a season-ending 20-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night that he had no plans to retire, putting owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick on the clock to either re-sign him or watch the franchise's greatest player suit up somewhere else.
"I would say it's pretty unlikely, hopefully unlikely," Brady said of retirement.
"I love playing football, I love playing for this team. I've loved playing for this team for two decades and winning a lot of games. I don't know what it looks like moving forward."
Brady completed 20 of 37 passes for 209 yards with no touchdowns, throwing a game-clinching interception that was returned for a touchdown, leading to the deposed NFL champions' earliest post-season exit in a decade.
That left him with a lower quarterback rating than Titans counterpart Ryan Tannehill, who threw for a total of 72 yards in his first career play-off appearance.
Brady failed to record a touchdown pass for the second straight post-season game and just the fourth time since 2001.
On the end of the team's eight straight conference championship appearances, the longest in NFL history, he said: "We're all running out of time and chances, every year that goes by.
We're all running out of time and chances, every year that goes by.
TOM BRADY, a six-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player and three-time winner of the league MVP, on the end of New England Patriots' eight straight conference championship appearances, the longest in NFL history.
"I don't think I'm the only one in that category."
A six-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player and three-time winner of the league MVP, Brady is not under contract for next season.
Although he has said he wants to play until he is 45, he is coming off perhaps the worst season of his career despite not suffering any injuries.
"Who knows what the future holds? We'll leave it at that," Brady said. "I love the Patriots. It's the greatest organisation.
"Playing for Mr Kraft all these years, and for coach Belichick, there's nobody who's had a better career than me, just being with them. So I'm very blessed."
He threw for 4,057 yards and 24 touchdowns this season, with eight interceptions, but completed fewer than 56 per cent of his passes in six out of the final eight games of the year.
Still, the love from New England fans has never waned. A fan in the front row hung a banner reading: "Please stay, Tommy".
The rest of the Gillette Stadium crowd showed its love by chanting his name several times throughout the night.
But whether he will be back could be the most interesting drama of the off-season, with rookie Jarrett Stidham, 23, the only other quarterback on the team's roster.
"I don't want to get too much into the future and stuff," Brady said.
"I just don't know what's going to happen and I'm not going to predict it. No one needs to make choices at this point."
While Belichick declined to answer questions about Brady's future, free safety Devin McCourty expressed his hope that they would be teammates again as "it is hard to imagine him not playing here".