The 2018 NFL season is still months away, but work has already started for all 32 towards the first game of the season, but for the New England Patriots, a huge situation could turn their season upside down before it has even begun.
Tom Brady has been the quarterback for the Patriots every since the 2001 season and the team hasn't looked back since, winning five Super Bowls while making eight Super Bowl appearances in total.
However, if reports by Adam Schefter of ESPN are to be believed, those good times are under jeopardy of ending soon, despite the fact that Brady himself has stated several times that he wants to play into his mid-40s.
According to Schefter, the Patriots icon has not verbally committed to playing football in 2018 yet, stating that the lack of verbal confirmation either publicly or privately has caused some to say they can't state for sure he will come back, even though they believe he will.
One of his sources said: "My money would be on him playing football for the foreseeable future, but what goes on away from the football field, I don't know. I don't know."
Another one of his sources added: "I believe he's going to be there. However, having said that, we're dealing with a human being. Things can change. But I do believe he will be playing."
While it might seem that Schefter is clutching at straws here considering what Brady has said about his career in the past, the Patriots quarterback will be 41 entering the new season and has a family to think about as he comes to the end of his playing career. It's not out of the question, it would just be unexpected at this time.
Brian Hoyer is the only other quarterback on New England's roster, so in eight days time, the team will likely draft Brady's successor in the upcoming draft, and off the back of an MVP season at the age of 40, some believe the last year has taken a lot out of him. Retirement might arrive sooner than expected.
If Brady does end up retiring this offseason, it would bring an end to arguably the best career any player has had in the NFL. At the same time though, you can bet good money that he will be returning, because he has the drive and determination to not end his career after another close Super Bowl.