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Monday, April 18, 2011
Big Tuna: Not too early on QB plan

By Mike Reiss

While this morning's conference call with Bill Parcells was set up specifically to address his status as a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame, there was some current-day football chatter.

Parcells was asked to put his executive hat on, and consider what he might do when it comes to grooming a replacement for Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Is it too early to start thinking that way?

Parcells called it a "good question" -- Manning is 35, Brady is 33 -- before rattling off his answer.

"I think you have a constant vigil to try to maintain continuity at that position because it is the premier position in the league. And it’s vital," he responded. "These players are up in their 30s, and they both seem to be very well-conditioned, very durable, very committed players. I think the future is certainly part of what the Patriots and the Colts will be relying on from those players.

"But, that being said, I think any time you get into your 30s or mid 30s like they’re approaching or currently in, you have to start thinking about it a little bit because you go out there one Sunday and it can be over pretty quickly or your skills can deteriorate pretty quickly. I think it would be in the back of both teams’ minds now. You know, ‘Hey, maybe we ought to think about doing something here.’"

Brady has said in the past that he hopes to play until he's 40, so if things go as he hopes, he has another seven years left. He's currently signed through 2014. Manning, meanwhile, is a free agent and has been assigned the franchise tag this offseason.