|Complete Tom Brady Q&A, 5/28||05.28.09 at 2:19 pm ET|
Here’s the complete transcript of the Q&A between Tom Brady and the media from this afternoon at Gillette Stadium. (Thanks to NESN’s Jeff Howe for part of the transcription.)
How are you feeling?
I’ve been feeling really positive. Getting back into the football stuff, it’s a little different than the training that you do normally, working out in the offseason. It’s good to come out on the field … there’s obviously a lot of rust by all of us being off for four months. We’re working hard to make the improvements we need to make – thank God the seasons still a few months away. But we need the work and I need the work and I think everybody realizes that when you come out after four months off, there’s a lot of work for us to do.
Did you talk to any other quarterbacks who’ve been through this about what their experiences were?
No, not really. No, I haven’t.
Anyone else at all who has gone through this?
There have been a couple of guys on our team who have had the injury. It’s about staying positive and doing the work. You have to do the rehab – nobody likes doing the rehab. I’m glad we’re back into the football stuff, and we’re back into throwing the ball on the field and that’s the stuff I enjoy the most.
Do you have to kind of learn how to throw again with the knee being what it is?
No, I don’t think … the throwing is not the problem at all. At this point, it’s just about getting back to the football activities. I’m doing the football activities not for my leg but more for the rest of me. My body feels really good. My arm feels good. I’m not completing as many passes as I want, but we haven’t been out here very long. It’s just about getting better every day, and if you can do that, then you can make continuous improvements over weeks and months, and you’ll be a better player.
Adjustment on having to wear a brace on your leg?
No, you don’t even really notice it. I’d rather not wear it, but Jim is forcing me to wear it, so I have to listen to him.
On motivation and being just as hungry despite living a glamorous life…
I’m a believer in that talk is real cheap. I’m someone who likes to put the work in. I know it looks glamorous at times, but I think what I enjoy the most is playing football and being with my family, and those are the things that I do. So I’m excited to go out there and compete, and any time I have a chance to compete, I love that. Whether it’s on the practice field or the game field – which is unfortunately a couple of months away for us – you just have to come out. I just love that.
On being at the halftime of his career – what did you mean by that?
Well, I think we all have goals we set for ourselves in terms of how long you want to play. Fortunately for quarterbacks, you can play a long time because you don’t get hit all that often. I hope I have the opportunity to play for a long time. I think when you sit and sit on the sideline for an entire year, you realize how much you love it. Not that you need that to happen to be grateful to play, but you experience things in a much different way, a way I’ve never experienced as an athlete. I love being out here and I love participating and being around these guys. We’re working for some big goals that we’ve set. We just have to – as coach Belichick says – come out here every day and do our job.
Did the injury make you think of your athletic mortality?
Like the end of my career?
Like the end might be getting closer…
The reality is in this sport you never know with … any day could be your last day in football. It’s … you come out and it’s a very physical game and I think you’re just grateful for having a chance to compete in practice and be on a team and have a great job. I think all that stuff, we’re happy about and happy to participate in. So, I don’t think about the end too often. Hopefully, this is still relatively in the early part of my career. You’ll have to talk to me in a few years.
On rust and getting back out on the field…
Yeah, I’ve been playing football for a long time, so you don’t have to re-learn have to do anything. You just have to go out and try to be sharp. I don’t think I’ve been very sharp the last three days in practice. It takes a lot of reps and a lot of throwing and you see the defense and make the throws, and there are adjustments that are made on the field. The football part and understanding our offense, obviously, I have a good understanding of that. It’s just putting it together at a different speed, so you can go out and practice in the bubble in March and April. It’s nice that May is here with the team activities on the field and there are blitzes and you can signal guys and what happens when a guy slips on a route … you have to go to a different player, those are the things you have to sharpen up. There’s a lot of training camp practices – you’ll probably have 50 training camp practices – and I think each one of those will be valuable for all of us. I’m looking forward to them because I haven’t had the opportunity to do that in quite a while.
Do you still have some limitations?
I feel as good as I could possibly feel. I don’t think about it. It doesn’t bother me doing anything, so … it’s feeling really good, and that’s about as good as I could say. I’m real happy with where I’m at, and coming out to these workouts, I’m happy to participate in them. That was something that was a big goal for me to do.
If the opening game was two months away, would you be ready?
I’ll take every day that I have, believe me. There’s a lot of new faces and new coaches and there has been a lot of change for us this year, and we have to us it to our advantage.
Did you learn anything about the game when you were away that you could maybe put into practice now?
Yeah, you’re not into the day-to-day of the football, which is … as a football player, it’s like everybody. When you’re in your job every day, it’s a grind. You get up and you go to work and it’s quite a routine. I didn’t have that routine this year. So there are other things that you see. I said earlier some of those things, when you’re in that marathon of a season, you’re about getting through the next day and then getting through the game. And you start bitching about the little things. When I was sitting out last year, you hear all the guys in November and December, that later part of the year when everyone starts to get worn down, and I’m saying, ‘Come on, guys. Just push through it. Win the game!’ No one cares about … that’s how Coach Belichick coaches us. I really saw it from a different perspective in that sense. So hopefully, there’s no bitching from me this year [laughter].
On the offense and how it might compare to 2007…
Well, we have guys who are experienced players obviously with in Randy and Wes at receiver, and we’ve added some tight ends, and Joey and Greg are here as well. So there’s a lot of work we all need to do to get on the same page. I know the kind of effort we put in in 2007, and we need to match that. In 2008 as well, we worked hard that offseason, and it didn’t work out for us in the end. And I think this year, it’s another bit of excitement, a new challenge, and that’s why we’re here practicing. I don’t think you overlook anything out here. Every rep, every route that we’re out here, it’s all for a reason. We’re walking through the two-minute drill today, and we’re all trying to get on the same page, and that’s going to carry over to training camp and training camp will carry over into the season. We’ve got a lot of tough opponents this year and we have a challenging schedule, and we’re going to need the work we have. All these new guys, I think they’re a bit overwhelmed with the offense and all the terminology and the speed and how I’m spitting things out and how I’m changing things at the line. We’re all trying to get used to that.
On the biggest surprise the last two days…
This is a hard game. It’s one of those things if you’re not doing it every day and not competing at this level, then … you always think it’ll get easier as you get older and you’ll going to complete more balls and that’s not the way it works. You’ve gotta come out every day and put the work in, and you can’t take anything for granted and you can’t think that because you completed it last year a certain way and it’s the way it’s going to be the same way this year. I think we have a group of hard-working guys, and I’m very appreciative of that as a member of the team, because I don’t have to motivate those guys. They’re really self-motivated. And when they’re willing to work, we’re willing to put the time in together, I think we’re going to need all that hard work and commitment from everybody to make it a successful season.
On off-the-field stuff this offseason…
I’m a very optimistic person, so I cherish those moments. There have been great things happening in my life for a long time. Certainly, this year was no different in different areas of success, with marriage and with children. It’s a great part of my life, and so is work. I’m excited for all those things coming together. I think I’m a happier person when I’m working.
On being able to juggle work and family…
Yeah, certainly. There are a lot of constraints on your time, and it’s about prioritizing them and doing the best you can do.
Children? Is there another one on the way?
No, it’s … no. [laughter] One is enough. I have dogs, and that’s all I need.
I feel like it’s springtime and 50 degrees and rainy in Boston. Everything … it’s the start of a new year, so we’re trying … I wish we could come out and have a 90 percent completion rate every day and everyone on the same page and no mental errors, but because we’re so new to those, there are a lot of mistakes we’re making. We’ve gotta try and make those improvements every day. We have to watch the film and listen to coach and hopefully, we hopefully can build on each day, so we can look back two months from now and say we are prepared for training camp.
On thinking back to the injury…
I really don’t think about it. I’ve never really thought about it. I’ve never really focused on it. I think I felt bad for myself that night, and I think I moved on after that. Since then, it’s about trying to get better. Since it happens … there’s nothing you can do. You have to find ways to move on. Like I said, I’m grateful to be out here. To have the chance to come out here and play is something I’ve wanted to do my entire life and I’ve had the opportunity to do it for nine years and I’m at it again for my 10th. I can’t wait for it. Randy jokes – he wishes this was training camp, and I think in a lot of ways, we feel the same way. That we will put the work in. We’re going to come out and get back to doing what we love to do.
Is the football field kind of a sanctuary for you now?
Yeah. The football field, I can be one of the guys here. I enjoy that. I’m like that in other parts of my life. There are things that … once, I had a little bit more privacy back in the past. But that’s OK, and I learn to manage it and still find ways to enjoy myself — certainly here. Personally, I really enjoy the things I’m doing.
At this point, what could stop you from being ready for the season opener?
Anything that could stop anybody. There are a lot of things that could happen in two months. I have to drive home this afternoon – with Boston traffic, you never know what could happen. [laughter] Knock on wood. We’re out here preparing, and I don’t anticipate anything. I hope there’s not, and we’ll deal with something … lightning striking, I don’t know.
On playing in London…
I’d much rather play in London than the Tampa Stadium. It’s the middle part of the year, and I’m sure it will be fun to play in a different place. I know the NFL works hard at expanding to different countries all around the world, get more fans. The players understand that, and we’re willing to do that. We love the game. We want other people to love the game, too.
On Randy and Wes…
Those two work extremely hard. They were pretty good two years ago when they got here, and they were great last year. I expect them to be great this year, and there is no reason why they shouldn’t be. They work hard. They know the offense. They’re accountable. They’re great leaders. They need to play well. If they don’t play well, then obviously we’re not going to have a very good football team. When your best players are guys that are your hardest workers, I know coach Belichick loves that. I think all of the players look up to those guys and their leadership ability.
On the separation from Josh McDaniels…
Josh and I had a great relationship. That’s part of the NFL. Things change every year. There’s 13 new head coaches, and he’s one of them. I really hope that we find ways to move on without him. We’ve started that process. It doesn’t stop for anybody around here. You leave, and somebody else fills your spot and you’re anxious for the opportunity. We’ve got to work hard to get up to speed on everything. The coaches that are in that role are really doing that.
Quieter here without Vrabel?
You guys notice that, too, don’t you? Vrabel, Rodney, there’s not as much noise. We miss those guys. We love those guys. They’re our great friends. We wish them well.
Surprised by the trade?
I’m not surprised by anything anymore. It’s part of this game. It’s part of the league. I know Mike is happy to have a job. We’re all happy to have a job. Like I said, Mike is a great friend of all of ours. We miss him, and I know he misses us. But if we ever play Kansas City, we want to beat the crap out of him.
I think part of surgery and rehab is you have setbacks, and you just deal with them. It doesn’t always go how you planned. Life doesn’t go how you plan it. It’s a matter of dealing with it and understanding what do I have to do to get back on the right track. It didn’t really set me back very long, probably just long enough to keep me from really hurting myself.
On biking without a helmet…
Do I need a helmet? I do? I’m not even going very fast down there. I’ll get a helmet. Maybe Mr. Kraft can provide me with one.
On whether or not he has lost weight…
I’m about a little more than my playing weight. I tried to work on my strength a lot. There’s different things that you try to find improvements on, so I’ll be right back where I need to be in a few months.
I’m someone that always tries to do as much as I can do. I’m never a person that does not enough because then I’d regret not doing enough and think, ‘God, I probably could have done more.’ I probably go too far and then have to reel myself back in. It works in some things and then others it probably doesn’t. It’s been good because now I come in and feel like there’s nothing I can worry about. I just go out and try to play better. I didn’t do very well today.
On the new veterans in the offense…
I think it’s great. I love having veteran players come into this team because they have the experience and they know football. They know the language and terminology, and the learning curve is accelerated a little bit. It’s challenging in our offense as a young player because there is a lot that we do. It changes every week, especially as a receiver. You might be in one spot one day and the next spot in the other, and there’s a route we call, and there’s three different variations on the route based on the coverage. It’s tough. When you have a veteran player, he goes, ‘OK, yeah I get that. This is what we’re going to do. I did that.’ When you get a rookie, he’s trying to make sure he gets out to practice in time. When you have Fred who’s excited who’s run the plays, and now he’s just got to learn our terminology versus the terminology he’s know. He’s excited. He feels very excited to be here. That youth comes out in him. And I think we’re going to get hopefully the best out of he and Joey and Greg Lewis. I don’t know if you guys saw the catch that he made today but that was ridiculous. I told him that was the one he caught in the Super Bowl, the weasel.
We’re all trying to do something special. We haven’t had the kind of season we feel like [we should have] in going on our fifth year. There’s been some ups and downs. I think we realize you need to be extremely consistent in everything you do to accomplish your goals because it is challenging. Look at Miami last year. They’re the division champs last year, and we’re not in that spot anymore. We’ve got to make the improvements to catch up to the other teams. We’ve got an AFC team that won the Super Bowl, a team that we seem to play every year. When you don’t make the playoffs, you’re looking up at a lot of teams. We’ve got to get back to winning some football games.
We’ll see. Like I said, talk is cheap. I could sit here and tell you guys I’m going to play until I’m 80, but that doesn’t matter. I’m going to go do the best I can do. I’m going to be the best leader and the best teammate and supporter of the guys on my team. That’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing. I’m grateful to have that chance to be out here today. I can’t wait to get out and start playing games.
On the injury…
I think you wake up the next day, and you’re kind of like, ‘Was that a dream? Because that’s not really how I thought it was going to go.’ I had never been injured. That passes over me pretty quick, though. I don’t dwell on it. I just kind of go, ‘Well, that sucks.’ OK, now what do we have to do? Obviously right after, you’re still hurting a little bit. Then you’re focusing on the things you’ve got to do to get better. I think it went pretty fast in a lot of ways, the rehab process and getting back here. It goes fast because there’s something else to focus on, and you’re always trying to make improvements, just like we do on the practice field in a different way. When you’re not practicing, you’re trying to make improvements so you can get back out here with this goal in mind. It’s challenging because you’re not playing. It’s challenging because you can’t help your teammates in the role that you’ve always helped them in. I’m obviously supportive of them, but I’m hoping that I can be back out there leading once again
Did you watch the games?
Watching the games was not a problem. I loved that. It’s the end of the games that’s a problem because when you win, you’re like, ‘Damn, I wasn’t a part of any of it.’ They’re all celebrating in the locker room, and I’m like laying in my bed. That’s no fun. then when you lose, you’re bummed because the team lost. It’s probably like the emotion of a normal game for the players. There’s always emotion after the game. During the game, you’re rooting and cheering for the guys and hoping everyone is doing well and everyone is safe. But once the game ends, you try to go to bed early.
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