What if Tom Brady isn't back with the Patriots? 'I just don’t know,' he says

Tom Brady wouldn’t be the first great player to leave the only team he has played for, and he wouldn’t be the last either.

Still, it’s odd to think about Brady playing for anyone other than the New England Patriots. In the wake of their playoff loss Saturday to the Tennessee Titans, the speculation started. Brady is a free agent. He’s going to be 43 next year. Nobody knows what will happen, but we’ll spend the next few months guessing.

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In a talk with Peter King of NBC Sports, Brady admitted that he doesn’t know what will happen either.

Tom Brady doesn’t know what will happen next

Brady’s comments to King, which were made Saturday night before he left Gillette Stadium, were pretty consistent with what he said in his news conference after Saturday’s game. He seemingly wants to play for the Patriots next season, but put that decision on coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft.

“I’ll explore those opportunities whenever they are,” Brady told King. “If it’s the Patriots, great. If that doesn’t work, I don’t know. I just don’t know. I love playing football. I still want to play football. I think I still can play at a championship level. I’ve just got to go do it. I’m motivated to get back to work and training.”

It’s strange to even hear Brady acknowledge the possibility of him not playing for the Patriots in 2020.

If the Patriots move on — as expected, Belichick said absolutely nothing that would tip off his plans — it will be one of the weirdest free-agency tours ever.

Could Brady switch teams?

Michael Jordan finished with the Washington Wizards. Babe Ruth ended on the Boston Braves. Willie Mays was with the New York Mets and Hank Aaron went to the Milwaukee Brewers. Jerry Rice’s final stop was with the Seattle Seahawks (or the Denver Broncos, if you count the 2005 preseason).

Few great athletes get the chance to spend their entire career with the same team. If the Patriots do move on, we’ll hear speculation about the Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders or whoever else. Even as he gets set to turn 43, Brady will be a draw.

These are just the first steps in what will be a potentially history-changing story. Free agency is still more than two months away. Everyone, including Brady, waits to see what happens next.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady can become a free agent in March. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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