Rodney Harrison jumped on Quick Slants the Podcast this week and he hit on everything. He reflected on his joining the Patriots in 2003, what happened in his initial meeting with Bill Belichick that clinched his decision to come here, succeeding Lawyer Milloy and his selection to the Patriots Hall of Fame.

We also hit on Tom Brady and his decision to skip voluntary workouts for the second straight season.

“I think it’s great,” said Harrison when asked about Brady not working out with the team. “I think at this point in time in his career, after all the years and all the levels of commitment that he’s shown that if he needs a break and he needs to spend his valuable time (with his family, he should).

“Tom Brady can’t be who Tom Brady is if he’s not at peace with himself. If he’s not spending time with his family, if he’s not making them breakfast, if he’s not waking up and taking them to the beach (he’s losing something) that’s very, very special and those are the things as an older player that you really value because you know you give up so much during the season.”

Do the Patriots stand a better chance of hitting the ground running when training camp begins if Brady is involved in passing camps and workouts and building relationships with a fleet of new players at tight end and wide receiver? Logically, you’d say yes. It’s what we’d been told for more than a decade. Championship teams are built as much in April and May as they are in November and December.


But that contention’s lost a lot of steam since the 2018 Patriots were Brady-less (and Gronk-less) for everything but mandatory minicamp last year prior to training camp.


Harrison says that Brady prioritizing time with his family during the offseason will make him a better player come July when camp begins.

“Everybody knows Tom Brady, his work ethic, his level of commitment and you know when he’s not there he’s working his ass off so I think it’s fine,” said Harrison. “I think it’s really smart. When you come into football training camp you gotta forget about wife and kids … at the end of the day you’re down there taking care of business. And if you put your time in as a veteran player at home, you’ll feel much better about yourself doing that.

“You gotta make sure that you clear the distractions so you can go to work and just be you,” he added. “And that’s why I applaud tom Brady because he needs this time with his family.

The last thing you want is a 20-year-veteran missing his family. No, no, no. That’s why if I’m a head coach, I’m telling my assistants, ‘You guys if you have kids who have games, you get your butts to those games.’ You don’t want those guys sitting there in their office and they feel like they’re miserable and haven’t spent enough time with their families. Balance is so important. Family as well as football.”

Does Brady generally get “a pass” on not being at OTAs while other players come in for hearty criticism for doing their own thing? Not really.

Otherwise, his name wouldn’t be brought up so often when some other player opts to do his own thing. And we wouldn’t even be asking the question if he were truly getting a “pass.”
But comparing the nearly 42-year-old Brady’s situation as he enters his 20th season in the league to anybody else is comparing apples to typewriters. He’s the ultimate outlier. Success has its privileges. As does age.

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