MINNEAPOLIS -- Part of Tom Brady's job at this stage in his career is to connect with players who are often 15 years younger than he is. Or more.
He's been open in discussing how that hasn't always been easy. His off-the-field life is vastly different than that of many of his teammates. His tastes in music and movies may stray from theirs, as well. But Brady has worked at it, and he's developed some strong relationships with teammates who were small children when Brady won his first Super Bowl back in February of 2002.
Perhaps the best illustration of Brady's ever-evolving interpersonal relationships with younger Patriots in the locker room is the one he has with his center David Andrews. The pair, due in large part to their proximity on the field, have basked together in some of the best wins in Patriots history. Andrews was one of the first to celebrate with Brady after James White scored the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl LI. Andrews was also the one jogging off the field with Brady in Pittsburgh earlier this season as Brady shouted at fans, "How 'bout that!"
Andrews explained on Tuesday that he'd spent about a week in the Patriots facilities his rookie year before Brady went out of his way to make him feel at home. For an undrafted rookie, and the backup to Bryan Stork at the time, it was a memorable introduction.
"[Rookies] were kind of working out on our own for a week or something, I can't really remember, but I remember when the veterans started to roll back in," Andrews said. "He's walking in the hallway. I came out. Walked out of the cafeteria, and there he was.
"He was just like, 'Hey, David. 'I'm Tom Brady.' This guy knows an undrafted rookie's name? That was a huge impression and something I'll always remember."
Andrews had watched Brady from afar for years. He was nine years old when Brady took the field at the Superdome to take on the Rams in Brady's first Super Bowl.
"I remember the Titans-Rams game, and then I think it was the next year, Rams-Brady," Andrews said. "I think it was one of the first Super Bowls I really remember as a kid growing up. Just kinda seeing that like, 'Oh, who's this Tom Brady guy?' It just kind of snowballed from there. He became who he is now.
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"I think I had a babysitter that first Super Bowl he was in. I think [my parents] were at a party that I couldn't go to. That year the babysitter was like, 'You're going to bed.' I was like, 'Yeah, I'm gonna watch this game.' "
Sixteen years later, the 40-year-old quarterback is receiving snaps from Andrews for a chance to win his sixth Super Bowl -- his second with the 25-year-old fellow team captain who only vaguely remembers Brady's first.