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The story of Tom Brady’s first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has become even more unbelievable. While the 43-year-old set a franchise record with 40 passing touchdowns and led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory, he apparently did so on a fully torn MCL.

On Thursday, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Brady played the 2020 season on a fully torn MCL — an injury which he had corrected via surgery this offseason. Previously, we didn’t get many specifics about the mysterious knee surgery Brady had, except that the future Pro Football Hall of Famer described it as “pretty serious,” and it was something Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians was wary of in mandatory minicamp. Brady also admitted that it was an issue he had been playing through for some time. 

“From this point to the beginning of the season, to the beginning of training camp, I really feel like I can really work hard at football improvement as opposed to getting back to a rehab, you know, place where you’re more baseline,” Brady said last month. “It was an injury I dealt with really since last April, May. I knew I’d have to do something at the end of the year, and happy I did it. It was probably something that certainly needed to be done and there was a great outcome, so I’m very happy about that. I feel I’ll be able to do some different things this year than I was able to do last year.”

Brady passed for 4,633 yards, 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions last season, and helped the Buccaneers improve their record from 7-9 to 11-5. It wasn’t a perfect year, but Brady and the Bucs defense turned it on in the playoffs, and put the smackdown on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV to the tune of 31-9. It looks like Brady will be able to play as long as he wants to, and he said this offseason that his motivation now comes from proving his ability to himself. 

“It’s hard to walk away from something that you still feel like you can do and you want to do,” Brady said, via NFL.com. “So it’s not about proving it to others what you can do, it’s more about proving it to yourself. And I still feel like even though I’ll be 44 this year, I still have a chance to still prove it to myself that I can still do it at 44, because I really worked to a point where I can still do it at this age.”