Oldest NFL players in history: Where does Tom Brady rank on all-time list?

Entering the 2021 season, Tom Brady officially ranks as the oldest active player in the NFL. At 44 years old, Brady is the only current NFL player in his 40s. 

However, Brady is not the oldest NFL player in history — well, not yet. Brady recently commented that he could see himself playing into his 50s, which has never been done before in the league.

The oldest NFL player in history was George Blanda, who retired at the age of 48 in 1976. He was originally drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1949, meaning his career stretched for four decades. The only other NFL player to do this is former Giants kicker John Carney, who played from 1987-2010. 

Since Brady began his career back in 2000, he still has a while before his career is worth four decades. But, if Brady keeps winning Super Bowls and remaining injury free, it’s definitely possible.

There were two other NFL players last season in their 40s — Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Brady’s old Patriots teammate, Adam Vinatieri — but they both retired entering this season making Brady the lone man in his 40s.

Brady won’t be alone in the 40s category for long. On Jan. 22, 2022, Bears left tackle Jason Peters will turn 40. Then, on March 2, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will reach his 40s, too, but that would be for the 2022 season.

Three other active NFL players will turn 40 during the 2022 season — Andy Lee of the Cardinals, Sam Koch of the Ravens and Andrew Whitworth of the Rams. Their future status in the NFL is uncertain, though.

The next oldest quarterback behind Roethlisberger is Washington’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is currently out due to a hip injury that occurred in their Week 1 game against the Chargers. His return this season is unknown.

With all this uncertainty for the older players in the league, one thing is for certain: Tom Brady isn’t retiring any time soon. In a few years, he could break the record for being the oldest NFL active player. If all the new 40-year-olds don’t make it to next season, Brady will remain the sole player in his 40s. 

If Brady retired now, he would rank in the top 10 oldest players in history. Take a look at that list below.

Oldest NFL players in history

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