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Hearing footsteps? Brady says he plans to play 10 more years

  • By NFL.com
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While some believe the New England Patriots drafted quarterback Ryan Mallett to eventually take over for Tom Brady, the reigning league MVP wants it to be known that he doesn't plan on stepping down any time soon.

NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner said Brady -- who recently signed a four-year contract extension that runs through 2014, when he'll be 37 -- told Mallett fans not to hold their breath.

"I did text Tom Brady after this pick, and he wanted me to know for sure that he was planning on playing 10 more years," Warner said Friday.

Mallett played 11 games as a freshman at Michigan -- Brady's alma mater -- before transferring to Arkansas after new coach Rich Rodriguez brought in an offense not suited to the pocket passer. Mallett threw 69 touchdown passes and 24 interceptions in one season at Michigan and two at Arkansas, leading to his third-round selection by New England on Friday.

At 6-foot-6 and 238 pounds, Mallett is tough to bring down -- but also not very elusive. And with Brady still at the top of his game, the selection of Mallett has some people scratching their heads. Then again, when Brady suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2008 opener, the Patriots relied on backup Matt Cassel for the rest of the season. Cassel and the Patriots fell just short of the playoffs with an 11-5 record.

The Patriots then traded Cassel, along with linebacker Mike Vrabel, to Kansas City for the Chiefs' second-round pick in 2009, the 34th overall. New England used that pick to select safety Pat Chung.

"I don't think you can have too much depth at that position (quarterback)," Belichick said. "We've all seen what happens."

The Patriots had only Brian Hoyer as a backup quarterback last season, so the addition of Mallett could give Belichick an option if Brady, who underwent surgery Jan. 20 for a stress fracture in his right foot, is injured again.

"I feel good," Brady said at a promotional appearance Friday in New York. "I feel like anybody who has had surgery and had to go through rehabilitation. We still got a long time until football season starts, and I'm just working my way back."

Someday, whether it's 10 years down the line or sooner, Brady's career will end. Could Mallett be his successor?

"I don't know," Belichick said. "(He'll) come in, and (we'll) let him compete."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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