Just in time for spring break, Tom Brady emerged from his winter break to reveal he will return to the Buccaneers for the 2022 season.

Tom Brady Will Be In Select Company At Age 45

TAMPA, FL. – Just in time for spring break, Tom Brady emerged from his winter break to reveal he will return to the Buccaneers for the 2022 season.

Brady’s announcement on social media Sunday night naturally dominated the news cycle. The beginning of spring training? Heck, that quickly became a back-page item.

What is front and center, though, is that Brady will indeed quarterback the Bucs as a 45-year-old, his age come August. He showed no signs of slowing down last season when his 5,316 passing yards and 43 touchdowns were league-leading figures.

There are a handful of athletes from the major sports who played at age 45-plus. Led by the legendary Gordie Howe, here is a look at some of them, and their age during their final season.

52 – Gordie Howe
Looking back more than 40 years it seems remarkable a hockey player, any hockey player, could last that long. After all, Howe played in an era before helmets and at a time when all manner of rough stuff, including cheap shots, was common.

Howe, a grandfather his last two years as an active player, turned 52 late in his final season (1979-80) with the Hartford Whalers. Even then, he had 15 goals and 41 points while, get this, playing all 80 games. In his age-45 season of 1973-74, when he came out of a two-year retirement to join sons Mark and Marty on a Hartford team that was then in the WHA, Howe registered 100 points to finish third in league scoring.

49 – Jamie Moyer
At age 45, the crafty southpaw went 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 196 innings with the Phillies in 2008. Moyer won a dozen games the following year and totaled 39 wins after turning 45. He had Tommy John Surgery following the 2010 season and returned to the majors with the Rockies in 2012 when, at 49, he was the oldest pitcher to win an MLB game. He went 2-5 with a 5.70 ERA that year and finally retired with 269 career wins, 235 of them after turning 30.

49 – Hoyt Wilhelm
The knuckle-balling Wilhelm saved 12 games and had a 1.73 ERA in 72 appearances with the White Sox in 1968, his age-45 season. In five seasons after turning 45, he saved 46 games, won 21 and had a 2.49 ERA. He appeared in 1,070 career games, winning 143 and saving 228, the most in MLB history when he retired after the 1972 season. His 124 wins in relief remain an all-time mark.

48 – George Blanda
Though his days as a quarterback were behind him – he attempted 22 passes his final four seasons – Blanda made 64 field goals and totaled 355 points after turning 45. He reached the 2,000-point plateau in his final game at the end of the 1975 season and his 2,002 career points were a pro football record for several years, and are currently seventh.

48 – Chris Chelios
Chelios turned 45 during the second half of the 2006-07 season and played more than 150 games (regular season and playoffs) thereafter. He was a plus-11 in ‘06-07 and again in ‘07-08. Chelios played 46 games with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves in 2009-10 and was called up by the parent Atlanta Thrashers at the end of that season when played his final seven NHL games at age 48. The three-time Norris Trophy winner as the league’s defenseman, Chelios holds the NHL mark for most career playoff games with 266.

48 – Julio Franco
Franco has more hits (238) than any big leaguer after turning 45. He started 71 games at first base during his age-45 season with Atlanta in 2004. That year he hit .309 and drove in 57 runs in 320 at-bats. Franco started twice at third base for the Mets as a 48-year-old in his final season of 2007. He had a career average of .298 in 2,527 MLB games. At age 55, Franco appeared in seven games (6-for-27) for the independent Fort Worth Cats.

48 – Phil Niekro
The knuckleballer won 50 games, had 19 complete games and threw nearly 800 innings after turning 45 prior to the 1984 season. “Knucksie” won 16 games in both 1984 and 1985, the year he won his 300th game. Niekro retired with 318 wins and 3,342 strikeouts in 5,404 innings.

47 – Morten Andersen
Andersen came out of a one-year retirement to kick for the Falcons in 2006 and 2007. In those two seasons, he made 45 of 51 (88.2%) field goal attempts and all 51 extra points. His 2,544 points are second in NFL history.

46 – Satchel Paige
Ol’ Satch, who spent the bulk of his career in the Negro Leagues before signing with Cleveland in 1948, one year after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, went 12-10 with 10 saves and 3.07 ERA for the St. Louis Browns in 1952 at age 45. In 1953, his final season, Paige went 3-9 with 11 saves and a 3.53 ERA.

46 – Nolan Ryan
During his age-45 season of 1992, Ryan averaged exactly one strikeout per inning, having fanned 157 batters in 157 ⅓ innings. In 27 starts, he was 5-9 with an ERA of 3.72. He made 13 starts (5-5, 4.88) in 1993, his final season, which was memorable for the 46-year-old’s pummeling of Robin Ventura. Ryan is MLB’s all-time strikeout king with 5,714, and his 324 wins are tied for 14th.

45 – Randy Johnson
The Big Unit spent his final season with the San Francisco Giants in 2009, when he won his 300th game. In 22 appearances, including 17 starts, he went 8-6 with a 4.88 ERA. In 96 innings, he fanned 86 to conclude his career with 4,875 strikeouts, good for second all-time behind Ryan.

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