Tom Brady hadn't heard the news by the time he stepped to the MetLife podium late Sunday afternoon. When he was told that Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken clavicle, Brady was dismayed. "That sucks," he said.
Brady has explained many times that he holds Rodgers in high regard and that the two have a friendship that extends off the field. Recently, Rodgers told reporters that he's been getting nutrition tips from his "buddy" Brady. Soon after Brady heard about Rodgers' injury, he reached out.
"I did. I sent him a message, an e-mail. It’s bad news. It sucks,” Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan show. "You’re seeing a lot of guys that happen to –– JJ Watt, Whitney Mercilus. So many players. Guys on our own team. Julian [Edelman], obviously, is going through it. I don’t know what obviously the prognosis for [Rodgers], but it looked pretty major. It’s tough. You never know which play."
Rodgers was driven into the turf by a Vikings defender on Sunday, landing hard on his right shoulder. It was a nearly identical play to the one that knocked Jimmy Garoppolo from action early last season. Jameis Winston took a similar hit on Sunday that knocked him from Tampa Bay's matchup with Arizona.
Those kinds of shots are at the top of the list of the types Brady is trying to avoid.
"If I can contort my body in a certain way, I try to," he told WEEI. "I did in my second year have surgery after the season on one of my shoulder joints just from landing on it. It was a cold field, last game of the year. I wound up having surgery on it . . . That’s one spot where you can’t avoid to have any injury. But sometimes it comes up, it’s tough to avoid, and that’s the luck of football. Sometimes you’re lucky, sometimes you’re not. For a quarterback at least, landing on your right shoulder, there’s probably no worse place to land."
Brady said there was a point in time when he might've taken for granted the fact that he'd show up every Sunday (or Monday, or Thursday) and run out onto the field for another start. Hearing about injuries like the one Rodgers endured -- and going through a season-ending injury himself -- has changed that.
“I missed 2008," Brady said, "and that was a real eye-opener because I went many seasons without being out of a game, and I thought, ‘Oh, no. This is the way it goes.' Then you finally miss a year, and you’re like, ‘Oh my God.’ It’s torture to sit there and watch. I’m as proactive as I can be in keeping . . . all of my muscles healthy and working efficiently, trying to help absorb all those forces as best I can. Finishing the sixth game, I feel pretty darn good.”