Brady on D&C: ‘Now, My Arm Never Hurts’
|11.02.09 at 11:27 am ET|
In a far-reaching interview on the Dennis & Callahan Show on Monday morning, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady touched on numerous topics, including his health and his desire to keep playing for as long as physically possible. Brady suggested that, in contrast to the earlier stages of his career, there are no questions or concerns about the health of his arm, putting him in a position to keep playing for many years to come.
“Assuming my arm feels great, there aren’t a lot of other things that are going to keep me from wanting to be out there and wanting to play. Five or six years ago, my arm would hurt every day throwing the football. I always used to think, man, how can I play and always have my arm hurting? Now my arm never hurts,” said Brady. “If that’s always the case, then I’ll just keep playing until I have my social security if we have that left here in 30 years.”
Brady also discussed the many retirements and unretirements of quarterback Brett Favre, life in the public spotlight and his wife’s decision to learn to pilot a helicopter.
To listen to the complete interview, click here.
Highlights are below:
For you personally this year, is the bye week about recharging mentally or physically?
Probably more mentally than anything. My body’s feeling great. I haven’t been sacked much this year. I haven’t taken many hits. My arm feels great. I’m feeling good physically. I’m excited to get back to work. Watching the games yesterday, you’re glad you’re resting in a sense, but in another sense, you wish you were out there playing, especially watching the Miami-Jets game. You get anxious to be back on the field.
Do your teammates discuss plans for the bye week? Does Mankins invite you wild boar hunting?
Everyone has kind of special plans for the week. For most of our lives, since high school, we haven’t really had any time off in the fall. The bye week, in college or now in our pro career, is the one week you plan for in the season.
Everyone is already concerned about the bye week schedule so you can plan that special occasion.
What did you do?
My wife and I went on vacation to Florida and spent some time together that we haven’t had in a while. We hadn’t really had a honeymoon.
You watched the Jets-Dolphins on your honeymoon?
I love watching the games on Sunday. We don’t have too many times to do that?
Did she watch with you?
Yeah. She always does.
Does she understand the game?
She didn’t watch much of it obviously before we met, but she knows Dwight Freeny and Reggie Wayne. She knows Joseph Addai. She questions every transaction made by our team. She’s like most of the Patriots fans now. She has a big opinion on everything.
Could you relate to what Brett Favre went through yesterday? Were you rooting for Favre?
There’s been lots of negative about him over the last few years. There’s not many quarterbacks who retire just to retire. Most quarterbacks, whether Marino or Elway or Young or Montana, they retire because they’re hurt or because physically you can’t do it. When I’ve seen Brett Favre, I heard him in a press conference saying, ‘I still know I can play, I’m just not sure I can do it anymore,’ immediately I thought, ‘Well, he’s coming back.’ Quarterback, you don’t take that physical beating that so many other positions take, that line up in practice in pads every day to hit the guy across from you. We get to like, go and play catch in the back yard. You see the look on guys faces when they come in on Wednesday and it says, ‘Full pads.’ For the quarterbacks, no one really cares. We never get in practice anyway.
He’s been a great player in this league, a great example of a professional athlete, how to overcome a lot of obstacles in your career. He’s extremely mentally tough. His streak of playing is unbelievable. He’s meant a lot to the league. To go back to Lambeau yesterday, which has its own tradition, it was a pretty special thing to watch. He always seems to rise to the occasion, whether it’s a Monday night game. I always remember the game after his father passed away and he came out and threw all those touchdowns against Oakland. He’s really that kind of player. Special players don’t come along so often. Green Bay had him for a long time. Now he’s playing for a great team in Minnesota.
Boomer Esiason was bothered that he skipped the hard work of training camp. Did that bother you?
No. It doesn’t. The reason is there are a lot of guys who would love to do that, and a lot of guys who do do that. A lot of the veteran free agents don’t sign with teams until two or three weeks into training camp, whether it’s Ty Law’s situation or Junior Seau. The body only does it so much. Training camp is to get ready for the season, and Brett, as long as he’s played, was obviously ready for the football season when he started. He just got more attention doing it than any unrestricted free agent, and that’s really what he was. He was an unrestricted free agent that was not under contract to anybody. Why does he need to make a decision in April or May? If he wants to wait, so be it. It’s up to the team to decide whether they want to sign you, but that’s really the right of the player.
Favre seems to just tell his receivers to get open and he’ll get the ball to them. Does that seem logical or possible?
He’s got a great benefit of being in the same system he’s been in for pretty much his entire career except for the year with the Jets. The West Coast offense is a timing offense. There’s not a lot of – from what I understand, I’ve never played in it – there’s not a lot of route conversion by receivers. They kind of tell the receivers where they’re supposed to run, and they run as fast as they can to that particular spot, and it’s up to the quarterback to make the read, and if they bring too many guys and you can’t block them you just throw it to the one short receiver you have on the play.
I think a lot of that getting on the same page with receivers, like let’s say Reggie Wayne or Marvin Harrison with Peyton Manning over the years, that’s a very different offense. It’s built on anticipation of how the receiver is going to come out of a particular break on a route versus certain coverage. Both obviously are very successful.
There are lot of teams in the league. There are many different ways to play offense and many different ways to play defense. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. It’s a matter of the skill set of the players and how they fit into that overall scheme. Sometimes it looks very coordinated. Sometimes it doesn’t. That’s why a guy could be on a particular team and not do very well and be, say, a receiver in the Colts offense and then go to a West Coast offense and not do very well and now all of a sudden he’s a great player after not doing very well.
Do you have to be constantly vigilant about living in the public eye?
I don’t worry about that stuff. I remembered in, like, 2000 I was here with Drew [Bledsoe]. He told me that he went to a restaurant in Walpole one day, and the next day, in the newspaper, it was written what they ordered and stuff. He was like, ‘I’m never going back there.’ Now, 10 years later, how different our society is, where that seems to be so important and there are so many outlets for that. People are really interested.
It’s just kind of the society we’re in. The reality is, how I always approach it is, the next day there’s going to be another story. I really don’t have anything to hide. You always try to go out there, be respectful of people and do your best. However people want to treat you, that’s one thing. However you react, that’s another. I just enjoy the experience for what it is and for what you guys get out of it, and then whatever comes of it comes of it. I think if you’re trying to please too many people all the time, it’s self defeating and you don’t get anything out of it, and there’s too much stress and anxiety. That’s not what you’re going out for.
Who is more likely to fling mashed potatoes at an autograph hound or TMZ cameraman, you or your wife?
Probably her (laughing). She’s got that Brazilian passion of the soccer fans. She’s all bark and no bite. She’s pretty feisty when she wants to be. Definitely her.
Are you okay with your wife being a helicopter pilot?
She’s been scuba diving with sharks. She’s been rappelling down a mountain. She does everything, man. She does kung fu, she does boxing. It’s just how she is.
She’s flying for two now.
I know. I know a few people who are helicopter pilots. I’ve flown in helicopters and really enjoyed the experience. … There’s some things I’m not going to win, and that’s one of them.
How much longer will you play? Do you look at Favre, having a blast in his 40s, and see yourself doing the same?
I feel like, I guess I’m 31 now – no, 32 – I feel the best I’ve ever felt. At quarterback, typically, like I said, guys retire due to injury at the quarterback position. A lot of other positions retire because they can’t run anymore. That’s what the game comes down to for 90 percent of the other players. For the quarterback, running is not the issue. I was slow to start, and I’m slower now, and I’ll be slower 10 years from now, but so is Favre, and so is Peyton Manning. With all these guys, no one can run. No quarterbacks can run. Marino couldn’t run. Elway couldn’t run when he got older. Steve Young become more of an in-the-pocket passer as he got older. Montana.
What the quarterback needs to be able to do is direct the offense and lead, use their experiences and intelligence to get the ball to the guys who can do something with it, which is usually not the quarterback. It’s about throwing the football for the quarterback when it comes down to it, and the reason why Favre is still playing and Vinny Testaverde played and why Flutie was still playing and why Warren Moon was still playing was because they could throw the ball.
Assuming my arm feels great, there aren’t a lot of other things that are going to keep me from wanting to be out there and wanting to play. Five or six years ago, my arm would hurt every day throwing the football. I always used to think, man, how can I play and always have my arm hurting? Now my arm never hurts. So, like I said, I really understand my arm. It’s something every quarterback should learn. I know how many throws I can make. I know how to get it in shape for the season. And I know how to maintain it during the season. Even when a guy like Haynesworth falls on my shoulder. That could have been pretty significant. But because I think my arm is very flexible, it’s very loose in a good way, it’s able to withstand those sorts of things. If that’s always the case, then I’ll just keep playing until I have my social security if we have that left here in 30 years.
You have other things you want to do with your life, though. Does football sometimes seem pointless?
Yeah, it does. When you think about the way that people view us in society, it doesn’t match up. I think I see people, some of the experiences I’ve had, whether it was going to Africa two years ago like I did, understanding my sister teaches special needs kids, you talk about people that affect you on a daily basis, doctors around the world, it takes some special things in you to be able to do that. As athletes, we are incredibly spoiled. I was watching this thing on the E:60 on ESPN, Albert Haynseworth is driving around in this thing that goes 275 miles per hour or whatever it is, the rock climbing thing that can go to the moon.
You hear athletes say, ‘I’m just trying to feed my family.’ That, to me, really bothers me. There’s a lot of people in society who are working their tales off to make $30,000 a year. I don’t lose track of that. I think I’m very blessed to play football and do something I love. I enjoy it, obviously, for the sport, but it does challenge us physically and mentally and emotionally.
I don’t take it very seriously. I have a mom and dad who I look up to as my role models. My mother is a saint to me, and my father is the greatest man I’ve ever known. They’re the ones who have instilled a work ethic and a family and all these other things that are, to me, far more important than throwing a football. When the day comes when I’m not able to do that, I’ll definitely need something to satisfy that competitive craving that I have. Who knows what it will be? There’s not much that really interests me right now other than throwing the football around. When that day comes, I’m sure it will be something. I’m not a person who likes to sit around at all. I like to do everything. I won’t be flying helicopters.
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