Justin Gatlin Not Retiring Before 2021 Olympics ... Inspired By Tom Brady

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STAYIN' HUNGRY FOR 2021
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Justin Gatlin vowed to retire after the 2020 Olympics, but the 38-year-old USA track star tells TMZ Sports plans change, 'cause he ain't quittin' before takin' another crack at gold ... thanks to some inspiration from Tom Brady.

We talked to the LEGENDARY sprinter -- who competed in the '04, '12, and '16 Olympics and won 5 medals including a gold in the 100M in 2004 -- and asked him straight-up, are you retiring??

Nope ... "The goal will be to compete in the 2021 Summer Olympics," Gatlin tells us.

"I think a lot of people think that time is against me or against older athletes in this situation, and it's far from the truth."

Fact is, almost no track athletes remain elite into their late 30s. Usain Bolt retired at 31 years old ... and lost to JG in is last race. So, Gatlin is a freak of nature.

But, does JG really believe with the Olympics postponed a year -- only months shy of his 40th bday -- that he can realistically compete for ANOTHER gold medal?

"My educated guess is yes, [I can win gold in 2021]."

Gatlin continued ... "It won't be that big of a difference from being 38 to 39. But, I always said, 'I'm not running 'til I'm 40.' I was so hard on myself with not running 'til I'm 40, and now it looks like I'm pushing close to 40, and I'm gonna still be running."

Speaking of athletes in their 40s ... we asked Justin if he'll retire after Tokyo, and he sure as hell doesn't sound like someone who's done -- thanks to some inspiration from a guy who is still pretty damn great on the football field.

"Uh, [retiring after 2021 is] a possibility, I'm gonna see," Gatlin says ... "All this Tom Brady news that's going on right now, it's giving me a lot of hope to say, 'Ya know, maybe a 40-year-old Justin Gatlin on the track won't be that crazy.'"

Inspired yet!?

Cam Newton 'Free And Hungry' Intense Workouts After Panthers Release

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Cam Newton is officially a free agent ... and the ex-Panthers superstar is letting the entire NFL know he's already busting his ass for whichever team signs him for next season.

The 30-year-old former MVP posted several dramatic workout vids from a recent training sesh just hours after his release ... and his message is crystal clear.

"I'm free and hungry," Newton posted in his signature weird font. "No pity party, just work."

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Newton's final days as a Panther were filled with drama ... with the team announcing they were granting the former #1 overall pick's request for a trade --  a notion CN strongly refuted.

"I never asked for it!!" Newton said last week ... "Please do not try and play me or manipulate the narrative and act like I wanted this."

The dude is clearly feeling himself in the vids ... sweating like crazy and reciting all the Migos, Drake and A$AP Rocky he can while working out.

Newton ended his message saying, "Shine thru the shade," ... so you gotta think this dude is out to prove himself in 2020.

UFC's Aljamain Sterling Turning Quarantine Home Into Training Gym ... It's Dope!

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CAN'T STOP MY TRAINING
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UFC star Aljamain Sterling -- the #2 ranked bantamweight in the world -- says he's sick and tired of shadowboxing during quarantine ... so he's turning his house into an MMA gym!

It's actually pretty dope ... Funk Master has a bunch of handy roommates and they're all teaming up to renovate their Long Island pad into a prime training center.

The 30-year-old busted out (and disinfected) a bunch of old mats and equipment -- and even installed insulation in the walls -- so they can get back to doing what they love to do ... fighting.

"MMA training and working out, it's my life, it's my sanity ... if we can have somewhere where it's the same training partners training and that would be our quarantine training partners, so be it."

Sterling also wants to set the record straight about rumors he accepted a fight with Cory Sandhagen in May -- saying it's absolutely NOT TRUE.

Alja says it all has to do with his limited training resources. In other words, he wants to make sure he's in the absolute best shape to fight a tough opponent like Cory ... and with the pandemic in full swing, it limits his ability to level up.

"For me to take a fight against a guy ranked #4 in the world and not have the proper training is like a guy going to work doing construction without all of his tools. Like, how do you expect to get the job done?"

He added, "I would love to fight ... but right now's not the time. I want a proper training camp so I can really f**k somebody up."

"I didn't work this hard to become #2 in the world to just lose a stupid fight over ego and pride ... it's just stupid."

Deion Sanders I'm Proud Of Antonio Brown Getting Better Every Day

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Antonio Brown is on the road to redemption -- at least according to Hall of Famer Deion Sanders who says he's "proud" of all the process AB is making off the field.

Of course, AB has been in the news for all the wrong reasons dating back to his days with the Steelers, Raiders and Patriots -- from stupid things like helmet drama and beefs with GMs, to more serious issues like allegations of rape and assault.

But Deion Sanders is publicly supporting the WR -- in fact, Sanders shared snaps from a FaceTime with AB on Tuesday and made it clear he's in Brown's corner.

"Had to check on my Prodigal Son AB today!" Deion said. "When I tell u I'm proud of him I do mean I'm proud of him."

"He's working on himself, his family and his game 1 day at a time just like you and I. #Truth"

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Sanders -- who has shared his motivational wisdom in retirement -- says he sees the changes that are necessary to make a football comeback ... and as we already know, AB is trying like hell for a reunion with brief teammate Tom Brady.

"The REDEMPTION story is gonna be so darn good because it's gonna be REAL!"

The NFL has said it's investigating Brown -- it's possible (and likely) he'll get slapped with a punishment before being allowed back on the field ... if he's given another shot.

Stay tuned ...

LeBron James Sued By NBA Photog ... You Jacked My Pic For FB Likes!!!

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An NBA photog claims LeBron James stole his picture and posted it on social media without permission ... and now, the guy is PISSED, suing the Lakers superstar looking for payment.

The photographer's name is Steven Mitchell ... and he says back on Dec. 13, 2019, he shot a SICK photo of LBJ dunking on Meyers Leonard in a Lakers vs. Heat game in Miami.

The problem? Mitchell says he noticed LeBron took the image shortly after the game and threw it up on his Instagram and Facebook pages without Mitchell's consent.

Some photogs don't mind the publicity ... and Bron was clearly appreciative of the art, captioning the pic, "What.A.Time.To.Be.Alive and I’m LIVING with Pure Joy! Thank you 🏀."

But, Mitchell clearly wasn't happy LeBron didn't reach out first ... and now, he's suing the NBA legend.

According to court docs obtained by TMZ Sports, Mitchell is asking for any cash LeBron might have made off the post. Alternatively, Mitchell's seeking up to $150k for each time Bron used the pic.

Dope pic, though.

We reached out to Bron's camp for comment -- so far, no word back.

Tampa Bay Bucs Already Selling Brady #12 Jerseys ... QB Puts On Cliche Clinic In Phoner

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Tom Brady wouldn't say if he's locked up the #12 jersey in Tampa Bay yet ... but it seems the Bucs have already spoken for him -- because they're already selling it on their website!!!

Brady just addressed the media Tuesday for the first time since signing his contract with Tampa Bay ... and it was a master class in deflection.

It was cliche after cliche after cliche followed by non-answer after non-answer ... even when it came to the pseudo-controversy over the #12 Bucs jersey.

BEATING AROUND THE BUSH

As we previously reported, star receiver Chris Godwin has rocked the jersey ever since he got to Tampa ... and it sure sounded like he wouldn't mind holding onto it in an interview with ESPN last week.

But, with TB12 being TB12, of course, it was only a matter of time before he got the uni ... and it seems the Bucs are confirming that news on their own site this week.

As for Brady's take on the digits ... well, like every other answer he gave during his phoner Tuesday, he didn't really talk about it.

Brady said he was solely focused on things of greater importance -- like adapting to his new team.

Tom also dodged other questions about his Pats departure throughout the 30-minute convo with media ... evading the Qs like he was Lamar Jackson!!!

Props to all the reporters for the great effort, though!

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