Tom Brady is 41, entering his 19th NFL season and has accomplished more on the field than any player in the game’s history.
Over the past 18 months, he’s started acting like it. He’s entered “F*** it” mode.
Monday’s WEEI walkoff during Kirk & Callahan had more to do with Brady saying, “I don’t have to do this if I don’t want to . . . " than host Kirk Minihane’s questions about Alex Guerrero’s presence on the Patriots team plane last Thursday.
After the suspension-marred, Super Bowl-capped 2016 season, Brady realized that being nice, accommodating, committed and diligent off the field had gotten him . . . what?
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The league had just finished putting him through a wood chipper. The media was still treating him like a piñata. His team was still dying to replace him. He was making significantly less than Ryan Tannehill. His mom was still fighting cancer. His kids were growing up fast. His dad and his wife would be elated if he woke up and said, “I’m quitting today.”
So Tom Brady began putting his own interests a little higher on the priority list in 2017. Grow the TB12 brand, make a documentary to show what his life is like, stand up for himself a little more. And that led to a season that was somehow even more stressful than the previous one.
Now? You have a guy who isn’t going to ask, “How high?” when he’s told to jump. He’s going to ask, “Why?” Or maybe say, “No.”
A big statement for Brady prior to 2016 was playing in the preseason without the NFL logo sticker on his helmet. And even with that, he’d play coy.
Entering 2018? Thanks, but no thanks to anything that he’s not contractually obligated to do. OTAs. Appearances. Interviews. Press conferences.
And if he agrees to do something but doesn’t like the way it’s going?
There’s a real good chance he’ll say, “Yeah, all right guys, have a great day. I'll talk to you later,” as he did Monday morning.
The fallout really doesn’t bother him.
So fans are going to talk about it and call him sensitive, whiny or needy?
Oh. That’s different how?
So the media is going to get a day’s worth of content (like this!) handwringing over what this means for Brady’s legacy, whether this was an attack on free press and whether Guerrero is a kook, a quack or a witch doctor?
He’s seen that movie before and he know how it ends. The next story pops up.
So it’s going to hurt his brand?
Really? So he’ll put the mansion on the market.
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Hanging up on WEEI Monday morning wasn’t about ducking Guerrero questions.
And last season’s Guerrero-related pissing contest wasn’t really about Guerrero.
Both things occurred because Tom Brady -- at 40 -- started thinking about free will and self-actualization, which led to questions like we saw in Tom vs. Time.
“What are we doing this for?
"Who are we doing this for?
"Why are we doing this?
"You've got to have answers to those questions and they've got to be with a lot of conviction. When you lose your conviction, you should probably be doing something else.”
All of which helps explain why Tom Brady hung up on WEEI Monday morning.