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Don Yee, agent for Tom Brady, expects quarterback will play in 2018

Tom Brady’s agent did what he could to assuage the fears of New England Patriots fans on Monday, going on the record to tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he expects the quarterback to play in 2018.

“Tom’s intentions have not changed,” Yee told Schefter. “He’s consistently said he’ll play beyond this contract and into his mid-40s, or until he feels he isn’t playing at a championship level. I understand the constant speculation, but this is one point he’s been firm about.”

Brady turns 41 on Aug. 3.

Not walking away yet: Don Yee, Tom Brady’s longtime agent, says he expects the quarterback to play in 2018. (AP)

Where did the idea come from that Brady might not play this year?

Multiple places.

Some have pointed to interviews given by Gotham Chopra, the director of the “Tom vs. Time” Facebook docu-series that gave a behind-the-scenes look at Brady’s intense physical and mental regimen as well as his family life.

Last month, Chopra said he has “a hard time envisioning” Brady playing four or five more seasons.

It also came in part from Schefter, who reported last week that Brady hadn’t yet formally committed to playing a 19th NFL season, though to be honest we’re not sure what that would entail — a hand-written note hand-delivered to Bill Belichick’s desk? Smoke signals from his Brookline, Massachusetts manse, a la the Vatican?

But we digress.

One of Schefter’s sources told him last week there was a “75 percent” chance Brady was returning, and that there was concern in the Patriots’ organization.

Brady is getting his body ready

Though he hasn’t yet reported to the team’s offseason workout program, which began last Monday – Brady and his family were on their way home from Qatar that day — Yee insisted Brady is still working out religiously.

“He customized his preparation each season in order to maximize his performance. His training methods are evolving and getting better,” Yee said. “The year he missed the first four games [in 2016, to suspension from the deflate-gate saga], that month of training on his own was particularly efficient.”

Yee acknowledged that Brady thinks about his contract “like every player,” but Brady’s objective every year is to outperform his contract and his personal goals.”

Will the Patriots draft Brady’s successor this week?

If Brady retired now, he’d leave New England in a bit of a predicament. The team traded Jimmy Garoppolo, the most recent Brady successor, to San Francisco last year, and the 49ers seem quite happy with the quarterback.

Brady and Brian Hoyer are the only players at the position currently on the team’s roster.

After trading receiver Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams earlier this month and getting a first-round pick in return, speculation picked up that the Patriots might be big movers at the top of the draft. That remains to be seen, of course, and Belichick’s general move is backward, though he has moved up in the first round before to get coveted defensive line players (Vince Wilfork in 2003 and Chandler Jones in 2012).

The Patriots reportedly hosted Lamar Jackson in a top 30 pre-draft visit, which set off another round of speculation, but historically, those visits have given little indication of New England’s true interest.

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