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Maybe it's the avocado smoothies, maybe it's the hydration, maybe it's the maniacal stretching or maybe it's just an indomitable spirit.

Whatever the reason for Tom Brady's sustained excellence, this much seems clears: The Buccaneers aren't getting some washed-up 40-something icon in the twilight.

Brady isn't Willie Mays stumbling at Shea Stadium or Joe Namath hobbling around in a Rams uniform. He isn't Hakeem Olajuwon on the Raptors, the Juice in San Francisco or Tony Dorsett in the Mile High City.

Brady is an anomaly, a gift from the sports heavens that defies all logic. The Sports Mount Rushmore should have four different angles of his square-jawed face on it.

The notion that Tampa is simply throwing a dart with the hope of climbing back from the NFL margins is flawed.

The Buccaneers instantly become relevant with Brady, who has thrown for fewer interceptions in the past four seasons (29) than former starter Jameis Winston did in 2019 (30).

"I'm not betting against that guy," one AFC general manager told me about Brady at the scouting combine recently. "Are you?"

The facts reveal that you would be a fool if you did.

Brady's career arc, frankly, is something to behold. For all the success that he enjoyed in his 20s, he elevated his play in his 30s with all three of his All-Pro honors to go along with nine of 14 career Pro Bowl appearances.

"You earn the trust and respect of those around through your commitment every single day," Brady said in a post on social media Friday morning.

That commitment is undeniable. Brady's work ethic has never waned through his two-decade long career. He was a model athlete in Foxborough, who led on and off the field. Bucs GM Jason Licht, who was a Patriots scout in 2000 when Belichick took a shot on the Michigan quarterback in the sixth round, is fully aware on Brady Effect.

"Tom is a proven champion who has achieved greatness on the field because he demands the best out of himself and his teammates," Licht said in a statement. "I've known Tom since we drafted him in New England 20 years ago and through this process it became very clear that his desire to be a champion burns as strong today as it ever has. He possesses the type of rare natural leadership qualities that will immediately impact our entire organization."

When will Brady's time come to an end?

The cliff was supposed to come when he turned 40, but he just kept going. His level of play in his 40s, frankly, is ridiculous.

Brady has thrown for at least 4,000 yards in each of his three seasons as a 40-something. He's thrown for 85 touchdowns and just 27 interceptions in his 40s. He's won 13, 11 and 12 games during years when he should be on a Barca-lounger.

Although Brady isn't at his peak, he's still a quality player at the hardest position in team sports. He is stiff-arming Father Time before our eyes.

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