Before Tom Brady grew into the greatest quarterback in NFL history he was a kid from San Mateo, Calif., who dreamed of playing for the 49ers. Could Brady's dream, put on hold for decades, finally come true at age 43?
One of his former teammates went as far as saying if Brady ever plays for anyone else but the Patriots, it would be for his hometown 49ers.
Ex-NFL defensive end Chris Long wrote a guest column for Sports Illustrated in which he speculated perhaps there's an outside chance Brady would utilize the opt-out clause in his recently signed contract to head back home.
First off, as Long speculates, "the largest unconfirmed rift in professional sports" would need to come to a head and Brady would have to break free from coach Bill Belichick. While Long sounds dubious about any real troubles between the two, the truth is if Brady wants to move on he'll be able to after the season.
Brady's two-year, $41 million contract extension reportedly includes a provision making him a free agent at the close of the 2019 season if both sides don't agree on a renegotiated deal.
To make this wild theory even possible, the 49ers obviously would have to determine Jimmy Garoppolo isn't the right quarterback for them, after all. The 49ers have structured Garoppolo's $137.5 million contract as such that they could release him before next April 1 without dire salary cap ramifications.
Long's imagination also allowed him to speculate if Garoppolo was set free, the Patriots could bring him back to New England, where Belichick could re-energize his career.
However, barring a total collapse this season, it may be hard to imagine the 49ers moving on from Garoppolo, even for an aging local legend.
Besides, Brady threw some cold water on conspiracy theories connecting the sale of his $39.5 million Massachusetts home with his desire to leave the Patriots.
"I think I am at a point in my life where there are a lot of considerations that go into playing," Brady said during his weekly radio interview with WEEI in Boston. "I have a very busy professional life, I have a very busy personal life and any decision that is made has to consider everything.
"I am certainly at a place – we have been at the same place for a long time and I love playing for the Patriots," Brady said. "I have such a great relationship with Mr. Kraft and coach Belichick and our team. We'll worry about that when that happens. This isn't the time to worry about it."