FOXBORO -- Every year on Aug. 3, the training camp story line of the day tends to focus on Tom Brady. That doesn't make it much different from any other day of Patriots camp, but Aug. 3 is Brady's birthday.
On Wednesday, the four-time Super Bowl champ turned 39 years old, an occasion that served as the launching point for a handful of lighthearted comments from his head coach and teammates.
"Well, first of all," Belichick said when asked about Brady's big day, "I don’t think we want to miss Chris Barker’s birthday as long as we’re celebrating."
Barker, an versatile offensive lineman who has spent most of the last two seasons on the Patriots practice squad, turned 26 on Wednesday.
Any plans for the birthday boys, Belichick was asked?
"Um, practicing," he said.
During practice, Brady was serenaded by fans singing "Happy Birthday," and he acknowledged their gesture with a wave. Barker said after practice that he just pretended they were saying "...dear Barker..." instead of "dear Brady."
As well-known as Brady's career exploits -- and his longevity -- have been, some of his teammates are still in awe that he's been as good as he has for as long as he has.
"It hit me today when I realized he was born in the 70s," Terrance Knighton said. "I don't know how he's doing it, but he's doing it at a high level still so I feel bad for everyone that has to go against him because he's not slowing down."
Brady had some fun at his own expense earlier this week when he spoke at Kevin Faulk's Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
"It's such a special night. What's not very special about tonight is that when the guys going into the Hall of Fame are your age. Hopefully that doesn't happen again," he told Patriots owner Robert Kraft. "But we can't help it when guys like Kevin, it's their time. It was Kevin's time."
Though Brady will join Faulk in the Hall at Patriot Place at some point, that doesn't protect him from taking age-related shots from his teammates.
"I told him happy birthday, old man," Knighton said. "I still have a few more words for him once I get back in the locker room."