Around the NFL  

 

Tom Brady last player from 2000 draft with his team

Print

With 39-year-old kicker Sebastian Janikowski out the door in Oakland, Tom Brady now stands in a class of his own in every possible sense.

The Patriots quarterback remains the final player from the 2000 NFL Draft employed by the team that picked him.

Brady's staying power glows even brighter when compared to the players drafted into the NFL alongside him. As ESPN's Mike Reiss noted, the top pick in 2000, Browns defensive lineman Courtney Brown, flamed out in Cleveland in 2004 and was out of football by 2006.

Outside of Janikowski, defensive lineman John Abraham was the only first-rounder from the Class of 2000 to play until 2014, but that came with a handful of teams after being picked by the Jets.

Among that year's quarterbacks, Chris Redman forged the second-longest tenure behind Brady by lasting until 2011, while Chad Pennington played through the 2010 campaign.

In that 2000 draft, Raiders owner Al Davis showed a knack for picking kickers destined to beat Father Time. Refusing to retire, Janikowski is determined to play into his 40s, while punter Shane Lechler -- nabbed by the Raiders in the fifth round -- toiled for the Silver and Black until 2012 before moving on to the Texans, where he played in all 16 games this past season.

Brady's feats are even more fantastic when you scan the short list of players still active in the wave of drafts that came after Y2K:

»  The 2001 NFL Draft gave us the brilliant Steve Smith and Mike Vick, but Drew Brees stands out as the lone athlete still active from that year's selection process.

»  Julius Peppers, Dwight Freeney and Josh McCown are the final trio of active players from 2002, with nobody else from that draft playing past 2014.

»  The first-overall pick from 2003, Carson Palmer, just wrapped up a long and productive career that started with the Bengals and closed with the Cardinals. Two other first-rounders -- Terence Newman and Terrell Suggs -- remain the only active players from that class along with third-rounder Jason Witten.

»  The 2004 draft has plenty of household names kicking around, with Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger in play as longtime starters and Larry Fitzgerald still catching passes in Arizona.

Each of these players are celebrated for their staying power in a sport that, on average, dispenses with athletes after a brief 3.3 seasons. There's only one Brady, though, and it's anyone's guess when he will finally walk away from the sport he's dominated since the turn of the century.

Print

Fan Discussion