FOXBORO - It has been the most arduous offseason in Tom Brady’s career. His reputation has been attacked, and he’s spent more time dealing with lawyers than a player of his high character should have. But just days after his suspension was overturned, Brady addressed the media Sunday for the first time since his post-Super Bowl press conference on February 2nd.
“I love football, I love this sport, and I love playing in the NFL,” said Brady.
You know Brady is the Patriots emotional lynchpin, and that’s been referred to quite often over these last eight months by teammates and members of the coaching staff. But for the first time, an already shortened offseason - born of winning a Super Bowl - was impacted heavily by the demands on Brady’s time because of Deflategate. I asked the quarterback if someone who’s as maniacal as he is in terms of preparation and rest was able to recharge as he normally would.
“It’s just different,” he said. “I think you know I’ve dealt with different situations in my life, you’ve got to always figure out a way to overcome different obstacles that you face. Part of it’s being mentally tough, and part of it’s compartmentalizing things and dealing with things when they’re really at the forefront. Then they are not - you gotta put them someplace else and think about what your job is.
“I think that’s a lot of what I learned over the years playing this position, and certainly anytime you’re someone thats in the public eye like I am, you deal with different things and I think everybody in their life deals with different stresses, whatever they may be: financial, family stress, or work stress. You just do the best you can do.”
Brady’s preseason performance was not one he’ll look back on with fondness. The quarterback was uneven, producing just one touchdown in 12 drives. But on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium versus the Steelers, Brady will be carried by an emotional wave, and the return of his two favorite targets, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski.
That should be more than enough to get him through the opener, but we’ll keep an eye on the weeks that lie ahead because this has been an offseason like no other.