Given the Category 5 poopstorms the NFL dials up when the Patriots so much as burp without saying "excuse me," it’s unlikely the team would actively flout the concussion protocol with Tom Brady.
I now pause to allow the requisite snorting, scoffing, "Yeah, right . . . are you a f****** moron?" responses to subside.
Okay. Back at it.
During the Mona Lisa Vito Press Conference in early 2015, Bill Belichick offered this: "We try to do everything right. We err on the side of caution. It's been that way now for many years. Anything that's close, we stay as far away from the line as we can."
I believe him. And I also believe that, if Tom Brady had a concussion last season -- and his wife Gisele Bundchen clearly stated he did -- it’s very likely Brady decided there was no way in hell he was telling the trainers, doctors or team about it.
That’s the way he’s wired. That’s the way he wants it. No amount of league and medical intervention can make a player hellbent on hiding a head injury from doing so.
Short of Brady getting laid out and offering up the fencing response, he’s been in the league long enough to know how to hide how he feels when necessary.
It would take a grenade to blow him out of the huddle, so the prospect of a week in concussion protocol is going to dissuade him from self-reporting.
And there’s no athlete I can think of that is more confident in his own medical and training know-how. Speaking on WEEI's Dennis And Callahan With Minihane Show in 2015 about his body coach, friend and business parter at TB12 Sports Performance, Alex Guerrero, Brady said: "Concussions, we've treated lots of people with concussions down at TB12 with incredible success."
Brady hasn’t stated he knows better than the NFL, nor has he scoffed at the league’s concussion protocols. Actually, he advocated for them last year: "I think there’s been more awareness from the general media on what CTE is, how it affects you, the long term ramifications of it. I think, as an athlete, you have to take all those things into consideration and try to be as proactive as you can. Gain information, then go through the proper protocols if you do get a concussion."
The upshot of all this? If Brady has suffered multiple concussions over the years and hasn’t told trainers or team doctors, that’s on him. Period.
Anyone playing in 2016 through the fog of a head-rattling hit while the NFL, the media, and society at large is incessantly talking about the dangers of concussions -- and pointing to case study after case study to demonstrate that it’s not imagined -- has to assume the responsibility.
It’s not the fault of the police or the state if I go through the windshield because I was driving without a seatbelt.
The next step in all this will be the fingerwag. I’m actually doing it myself, presuming Gisele is accurate and Brady did have concussions and didn’t report them. I put it on him. Others will put it on the Patriots or Bill Belichick or the doctors or the NFL or the sport itself or just the general presence of testosterone in society. All will be called to account.
Usually, I eyeroll at that part of the program. But in this case, I do think it’s important that Brady at some point address it. There may be no more influential person in New England than Brady and the message to athletes -- especially young ones in contact sports -- really needs to be that protocols are followed.
If he never had head traumas and Gisele was exaggerating, well, say so. If he has had them and has kept them to himself, explain why he felt that was a good idea for him. And whether or not he thinks that’s a good idea for anyone else.