Patriots

Brady: Life after football seems 'like the abyss'

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Brady: Life after football seems 'like the abyss'

FOXBORO -- Of all the numbers, statistics that get volleyed in the Tom Brady-Peyton Manning rivalry, there's one in particular that's quietly working to dominate the discussion.

Age.

So it's two numbers, really. Brady turned 35 to raucous training camp cheers this August. Manning is 36.

The Patriots quarterback has said several times that he wants to play until he's 40 at least. And why not? Warren Moon was 44 years and 27 days old when he made his last start.

Wednesday, four days before Manning's Broncos charge into town, Brady was asked why in the world he'd want to do such a thing. Why would he want to play such a physically punishing game for what would be 18 seasons?

"Play football?" he asked, with a barely mocking lilt to his tone.

The crowd of reporters laughed knowingly with the three-time Super Bowl champion.

"It's a great sport," he relented. "I love coming to work every day. I love the challenge that the weeks bring -- the mental challenge, the physical challenge. I love the training. I love being around my teammates.

"There's just not much else out there, other than my family. It's like the abyss, you know? There's nothing else."

That phrase -- "The Abyss" -- was a bit jarring. It made you hope for hyperbole from the quarterback, or maybe some unintentional melodrama.

But it's probably impossible to imagine the depth of an abyss, the swallowing darkness of it, unless you're forced to look down inside.

Maybe that's what happened to Manning when he was injured. Maybe the broken down nerves in his neck and multiple surgeries forced Manning's toes over the edge and he didn't like what he saw.

Nobody outside of his circle knows. Brady could barely hazard a guess himself.

"I know, just speaking to him a few times, his love for the game and his love for the competition obviously exceeds whatever he may feel, or whatever he may not feel. I don't even know what he feels; I haven't talked to him about that other than, I'm sure he's healthy enough to play or else they wouldn't clear him to play.

"I have a lot of respect for him."

Opponents in battle, but perhaps on the same side in a larger war.

Brady enjoys 'unique experience' of road trip

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Brady enjoys 'unique experience' of road trip

While being away from home isn’t uncommon for the Patriots - just think about all those Super Bowl trips - Tom Brady believes each excursion takes on its own feel, its own flavor and - eventually - its own meaning.

Back in 2014, the Pats went from playing in Green Bay and losing to the Packers straight to San Diego for a week on the West Coast prior to a rousing victory over the Chargers. That week, many players said in the aftermath, helped propel the team to great heights,.  You’ll recall, that season ended in grand fashion, a triumph in Super Bowl 49 over Seattle, at the time - and maybe still - the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

“I think all these experiences are pretty unique,” Brady said Friday from Falcon Stadium at the Air Force Academy. “That was a very unique experience. This is different.”

Brady spoke about the number of stops the Pats have and will have to make on this trip - from Denver to Colorado Springs then on to Mexico City Saturday before a Sunday night return to Foxboro and their own beds for the first time in 10 nights.

“When you’re on the road like this, there’s less to do,” he said. “You know my family is not here, my kids aren’t here. There’s nobody telling me what I did wrong in the house. It’s just being at home and now it’s being here and trying to figure out a way to win a game.”

Brady quickly smoothed over any possible ill-will at home - why make Gisele mad? - smiling and saying “I didn’t mean that so I’ll take it back.”

Kidding aside, the 40-year old signal caller seemed pleased with the work the Patriots have put in during this long trip. A week of team-bonding can’t be a bad thing, especially for a group that seems to be hitting it’s stride both on and off the field. There’s the five wins in a row and also a locker room that has a better understanding of one another than it did during the first month of the season. But Brady is not ready to make any grand proclamations. That just wouldn’t be his style.

“I think it’s still work in progress,” he said of team chemistry. “You look at still adding a player like Marty (Bennett) last week. Things are always changing and evolving. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing well and after 8 or 9 weeks, you start to figure those things out. Now we have to work hard at those things, try to really own them, and use them going forward to try and win the most important games. We have a lot of important games coming up, starting with this one. Hopefully we can play our best football going forward.”

Brady said he’s been fired up for this game with the Raiders south of the border ever since the schedule was released all those months ago.

“I’ve never been to Mexico City,” he said. “It’s been a game you kind of look forward to. We’re playing against a really good football team in a pretty cool environment. It will be very memorable. I think everyone is excited.”

Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

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Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

The Patriots will be without center David Andrews on Sunday when they play the Raiders in Mexico City. Andrews, who hasn’t all practice all week with an illness, is one of four Pats listed as out on the injury report released Friday.

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Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who didn’t play last week against the Broncos is also out, along with wide receiver Chris Hogan and special teams captain Matthew Slater. Offensive linemen Ted Karras and Joe Thuney each took reps at center so one of them will likely start in Andrews’ absence. LaAdrian Waddle filled in for Cannon and performed well last week vs. Denver. 

Here’s the full injury report for the Patriots and Raiders: