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Patriots' Brady turns 30 and ready to play as long as he can

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -Happy 30th birthday, Tom Brady.

The news isn't as pleasant for opponents.

Three days after leaving his terrific 20s, the New England Patriots quarterback said Monday he planned to play as long as he can. He's healthy, has a new trio of outstanding receivers and still loves football. Besides, backup quarterback Vinny Testaverde is much older.

"If Vinny can play 'til he's 43, I hope that I can play at least half of that, 37, 38," Brady said. "I'll play as long as I can. Everyone always says, `Don't you want to retire? You're going to get hurt.'

"I said, `You know what? There's nothing more fun than this.' "

How could Brady not enjoy being the only quarterback in NFL history to win three Super Bowls before his 28th birthday, winning his first at 24 and being named MVP of two of them?

His 12-2 playoff record ranks second only to Green Bay's Bart Starr. His 82 wins in his six seasons as a starter are the most in Patriots history. He also has appeared on covers of many non-sports magazines.

"I never would have imagined any of this stuff would have happened," Brady said. "It's been a wild ride. It's been 30 great years, so I hope for another 30 like this. That would be pretty exciting."

For his birthday, Brady got a visit from a large group of friends and family and the return of wide receiver Donte' Stallworth from injury, but no baby. He said his former girlfriend, actress Bridget Moynahan, has not given birth yet.

Brady and the rest of New England's players were off from the end of Friday's morning workout until a non-contact walkthrough late Sunday afternoon. Afterward, he spent most of the time tossing a football with his niece, who was wearing a replica of his jersey.

"It was a great birthday," Brady said. "My parents came out. It kind of surprised me so it was fun to be with them. And I had my sisters and my nieces so we had a great time."

It was purely coincidental that his birthday came during his free time and wasn't a result of coach Bill Belichick's desire to give him time to celebrate.

"I don't think he gives a crap," Brady said. "No way. It just fell like that this year."

On the third day of camp July 29, he said he felt 22 years old. On Monday, after hundreds of throws and a lot of running around, his body felt like it was 49, he said.

"Right now, everything's sore," Brady said. "We practiced for 12 straight days so I think my arm after 12 straight days was calling for a break so I'm glad we got that."

For the first time in a full training camp practice, he threw passes to Stallworth, who came off the physically unable to perform list on Monday. He and Randy Moss are listed as the starters on a deep and rebuilt wide receiver corps.

"We all got a lot of work in the spring together, through the minicamps and all that good stuff," Stallworth said. "I don't look at it as my first time being out here. It's the first time for training camp, though we've done a lot together."

Belichick said that Stallworth played well in the spring and that Brady's training camp "has gone all right."

Besides Stallworth and Moss, Brady is getting used to Wes Welker, a wide receiver traded from Miami who has impressed the quarterback with his quickness. Moss, picked up in a trade with Oakland, has an apparent leg injury and is "day to day," Belichick said.

"Tom's pretty much the director," Stallworth said. "So if Tom ever wants to do something, you don't ask questions. You just go out and do it."

Brady should have Moss and Stallworth lining up on opposite sides of the field on the same play many times this season.

"The nice part is that when Randy's not in there other guys get in there," Brady said.

Moss was hurt last week while running for a deep pass.

"I overthrew him for the first time in about four months," Brady said. "You realize you've got to really put the ball out there for him because he just tracks it down so easily."

Brady hopes to play in Friday night's preseason opener at Tampa Bay, although Belichick hasn't said how the quarterback duties will be divided.

Even if Brady doesn't play much, he should have plenty of time to throw to current and future receivers.

"I'm going to play as long as I can," he said after practice in Gillette Stadium. "'Til they take my locker down in there, I'm going to be coming in every day"

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