Tom Brady doesn't want to think about life after football. (AP Images)

New England quarterback Tom Brady pictures his future, he doesn't see anything beyond his career in the NFL. Everything goes to black. 

"There's just not much else out there other than my family," Brady said. "I think it's like the abyss. There's nothing else. It's the edge of the cliff."

The Patriots quarterback has joked before that he wants to play well into his 40s and that they'll have to drag him out of Gillette Stadium once his skills begin to deteriorate, but it appears that there was more than a hint of truth in his comments.

This is one area where he and his Sunday counterpart, Denver's Peyton Manning, differ.

Manning was posed with a similar question about his football mortality during a conference call and responded by saying that he was ready to walk away from the game this summer if his neck proved problematic, and added that no one will have to tell him when it's time to step aside.

"I know Tom's said before how long he wants to play," Manning said. "I don't have that number in mind quite like he does. I still have a passion for it, I still enjoy the work of it. I think until I can not longer produce or be effective I'll stop playing."

Neither appears to be coming up on an immediate expiration date. Brady, 34, is currently fourth in the league in passing yards, while Manning, 36, ranks sixth.

Brady limited, Gronk out: Speaking of NFL mortality, Brady was limited in Wednesday's practice with a right shoulder injury, while TE Rob Gronkowski's ailing hip kept him out of practice.

Both players battled the same injuries last week. Brady's right shoulder disappeared from the injury report after a one-day stint, while Gronkowski was listed as questionable for Sunday's win over the Bills. He caught four passes for 104 yards with a touchdown.

Did not participate: WR Julian Edelman (hand), S Steve Gregory (hip), Gronkowski (hip), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion) TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle). Limited: RB Brandon Bolden (knee), Brady (right shoulder), DL Brandon Deaderick (ankle), DL Justin Francis (ankle), LB Dont'a Hightower (hamstring), OL Logan Mankins (calf/hip), OL Nick McDonald (shoulder), CB Sterling Moore (knee), RB Shane Vereen (foot) OL Sebastian Vollmer (back). Full: DL Kyle Love (knee)

Minor move: The Patriots re-signed LB Bobby Carpenter Wednesday, as part of four moves made by the team.

New England also released defensive lineman Terrell McClain, added TE Alex Silvestro to the practice squad and released offensive lineman Thomas Austin from the practice squad.

Carpenter was released during the final cut of training camp.

Nick Underhill covers the Patriots for Follow him on Twitter @CBSPats or @Nick_Underhill.