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Brady on D&C: Finger injury is ‘nothing’

08.16.10 at 11:04 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his first weekly Monday morning appearance of the 2010 season on the Dennis & Callahan show to discuss training camp, his contract negotiations, and how the team will fare in this season. Brady also mentioned that his finger injury is not severe. “I hit a helmet in the game,” he said. “It’s nothing. It’s one of those things that happens.”

Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Do you have tape on your finger right now, Tom?

Oh, man, I am good.

So it isn’€™t life-threatening?

No. I think coach [Bill] Belichick had it right.

Have you not been able to get an appointment for a haircut on Newbury Street?

I have been so busy with football it’€™s been hard to even get over there. Two-a-days for the last three weeks. This is what happens. I passed that uncomfortable stage with it and now I’€™m like, “Screw it, let’€™s just keep going.”

So this isn’€™t like a Justin Bieber tribute, is it?

No, it is not that. I think I am going to just keep changing it up.

Any chance you could get to the ponytail stage?

I don’€™t know if we are going that far. Maybe until I get sick of it. That could be any day.

Did you see Tim Tebow‘€™s hair?

Yeah that was funny. Actually, [Broncos long snapper] Lonie Paxton sent me a picture of it. I don’€™t think he did it, but I think he was involved with it. He sent me a picture of it on his phone, which everyone got a kick out of that.

It seemed that Tebow was unable to change his rookie haircut for a while, right?

It is one of those things. We do it here and I think Josh [McDaniels] brought it to Denver, obviously with Lonie and the other Patriots.

Is it possible to assess how the team is doing in training camp or would you have to wait until opening night?

There’€™s a lot of unknown at this point. There are a lot of things that you learn over the course of the season. There are so many practices that take place and over the course of a year, we’€™ve been through probably 25 to 30. We probably have 100 to 120, so just a quarter of the way through the practices, obviously. ‘€¦ Injuries play a big part of the season, the roles that guys play, really, things to start to identify themselves, who continues to perform consistently over the course of a long period of time.

So, guys go out there and they make a couple of good plays in training camp, you’re like, “Man that was a good play,” and then there’€™s just as many bad plays there are good plays and you’re like, “Well, OK, we can’€™t really deal with those bad plays.” Some people that’€™s just the way it is, and other people figure out a way to eliminate the mistakes and then its all good plays. Some people are really dependable on consistency. You guys can pretty well guess how Kevin Faulk performs on a daily basis because you have seen it for so long. Randy Moss, the same way. Wes Welker, the same way.

I mean, all these guys, Matt Light, we don’€™t go out there and get everything perfect on every play, but the level of performance on a daily basis is pretty consistent, and that to me is what we’€™re trying to build as an offense because you can’€™t have quarters where you have two three-and-outs in a quarter. You’ve got to have scoring drives very consistently, and if you want to be a good offense ‘€” and we are going to need to be a very good offense this year ‘€” we’€™re going to need to score a lot of points, we’€™re going to need to be good and effective in the red area, and I think we can be. From what I have seen over the first three weeks, we’€™ve been getting after it good and I think our level of execution has been pretty good, too, so I think everyone is excited about that.

Will the Patriots be a better team this season compared to ‘€™09?

I think coach Belichick has proven that he makes the right personnel moves. He knows the guys that he really wants on the team and the guys that he doesn’€™t feel fit the team, those guys move on. There’€™s a lot of players that other teams add that we would never add, they are just not the right fit. Whether it’€™s the scheme or whether it’€™s the stage in their career, or it’€™s just a lot of those guys they don’€™t fit for our team. You have to be a certain kind of player and person to fit into our team and what we are trying to build.

I think that leadership aspect that a lot of these players we’€™ve added bring, its important. I mean, you’€™ve got to know when the going gets tough, when you look around what players are going to do to pay the price to get the job done and on game day. That’€™s over the course of the week. So, over the years we haven’€™t lost too many back-to-back games, and why is that? Well, because I think when you lose a game, guys are figuring out what they need to do. They are putting in whatever time they need to put in. We’€™re identifying without any egos the things that aren’€™t working and then we’€™re moving forward. I think that is what the mark of our team has been, so that’€™s the kind of player coach Belichick looks for.

Would you feel safer if Logan Mankins were protecting you?

Logan is the best guard, if not one of the best guards. He’€™s an awesome player and the guy’s been playing at a Pro Bowl level for I think three years, the last three years. I mean, he came in as a first-round draft pick, started right away, never missed a practice or a game, and he’€™s everything we look for. Its just there are some screwy rules going on with the CBA, and its unfortunate. There are a lot of guys who are in his situation. I wish he was obviously playing. I wish he was out there with us, but I know he does, too, and I know the team does, too. It’€™s just those business aspects that come up that somehow need to get solved. Its unfortunate, but I wish I could say it didn’€™t happen, it just does.

Have you talked to him? If you have, do you think it’€™s salvageable?

I don’€™t know. Believe me, if it were up to me it would be an easy decision. It’€™s not up to me, so I don’€™t want to be general manager of our team. My job is tough enough as it is. I mean, I love Logan, he’€™s just a great guy, he’€™s a great teammate and leader and brings a certain level of selfless to our team and our organization and that very few guys bring, so like I said, I sure hope he’€™s playing for our team this year, I sure hope he’€™s ready for Week 1, but like I said that is not in any of our hands except Logan and the team.

Do you look at the NFL differently now due to being a player representative?

I probably get more information than I have in the past, and with a status of the CBA it’€™s been good to be on with that information to convey the message to the players. I mean, the players from what I’€™ve seen are more aware of what’€™s going on than ever before and I think prior to this signing of the last CBA was just kind of a few people that knew and then Gene [Upshaw] came in and just hammered home what the deal was going to be and the players just kind of said OK. Where DeMaurice [Smith] has done I think a great job of giving everybody the information that we need to understand of why we’€™re in a situation we’€™re in. Obviously it’€™s a big responsibility. The reality is the players want to play games next year and if we get locked out, then hopefully we don’€™t miss any games next season, but there’€™s a lot of negotiation that needs to happen.

Do you think we will see an 18-game season?

I think that’€™s obviously one of the points in the negotiations. I mean, it’s hard for us as players to say we’re going to work 12 percent more and take 20 percent less. So, like I said, I think the players ultimately do whatever is collectively bargained, so it’s just a matter of what it ends up being.

Did Robert Kraft let you win on the golf course to help with negotiating for a new contract?

He and I haven’€™t had many chances to talk over the last six or seven months, so he asked me to come down and play and I wasn’€™t doing much, my wife was out of town. I haven’€™t had a chance to play much golf either, so I figured I’€™d take him up on it.

Is your relationship the same between you and the owner?

Yeah, of course. We’€™ve been through a lot. It’€™s been a great relationship since I’€™ve been here with myself and the team and the organization and I don’€™t want anything to ever to get in the way of that. I mean, you’€™ve got to be able to separate what a good part of a relationship is and then obviously the parts of the relationship that you’€™d rather not deal with, but you have to deal with them.

So, it’s always, whether that’€™s coach Belichick, my coach, obviously he has a lot of roles within the organization, but when he’€™s coaching football, he’€™s my coach and that’€™s the level of respect I have for him. And Mr. Kraft and Jonathan [Kraft], his family, they’€™ve done everything they could to make this organization the best one in the league and the way that they treat us with our stadium, our practice facility with the way that they handle our travel, our food, I mean we’€™re so well taken care of, so it’€™s a great place to play obviously and I hope I am here for a long time. We’€™ll see how that goes.

Do you ever see the day where you will play somewhere else?

I’€™d love to be here my whole career. I have goals and the team has goals and hopefully they’€™re kind of down the same line, but you never know. Like I say, Joe Montana got traded and Jerry Rice did. Guys that I loved watching that were really the best players to play their position, so its hard to think that those guys are not playing for a team then why should I be excluded from that, though I sure hope not. I am going to work my butt off, make sure I continue to add value to the team. Once you can’t add value, obviously the team’€™s not going to keep you around, so it’s my responsibility to be in shape, to play at a high level, to be on the field every day, to be the leader that I need to be so that the team wants me. That’€™s what it comes down to.

Do you want to get a new contract by the start of the season?

The thing is, no matter what I want, it really doesn’€™t matter. It doesn’€™t. I could say this is exactly what I want. I’€™m not going to be attached to that because it’€™s not up to me, there’€™s a lot of people involved. Every player on the team wants a contract and to be fairly compensated, so does Logan, so did Vince [Wilfork] last year, so do all the other third-year guys, so does Wes [Welker]. Wes doesn’€™t make a lot of money, but he’€™s one of the best receivers in the league.

So, we all want to be compensated fairly, but we also understand that we sign contracts and that’€™s why we are here to show up and give our best. That’€™s how my dad would want me to handle it, and that’€™s how he taught me to handle it. Show up and play, do what you said you were going to do, and that’€™s what I’€™m doing, so, that’€™s where my mind’s at, and I just want to have a great season, I want to be the leader that the team expects me to be. I want to play at a level that I expect myself to play at, and if your mind is full of all these things ‘€” man, I wish it was like, I wish it was like that, I expected this or you know ‘€” then it just really defeats the attitude. It’s really a self-destructive attitude. If everything was up to me, like it’s up to a professional golfer, its just different because there’€™s team sports and a team relationship and you can buy into the aspects of the team as well.

Who should make one dollar more, you or Peyton Manning?

Well, I know what he’€™s going to make, he’€™s going to make a lot, and he deserves it. He’€™s one of the best that ever played, so honestly it’s not about that. I think when it’s all said and done, I am not going to worry about who made more money. All these other quarterbacks in the league, I don’t care what they get. Whatever I get, whatever works for me and the team, that’s what it will be. I don’t really care who makes more.

Any advice for Shaquille O’€™Neal in Boston?

I love being here. I live in the city, my wife loves it. We spend a lot of time on the river. My apartment sits right on the river, so it’€™s just an easy walk across one of the bridges. We’€™re very anonymous. It’€™s really comfortable. I don’€™t think Shaq is so anonymous. He’€™s 7-foot whatever he is, Andre the Giant, he can’€™t escape anywhere, but he’€™s got a very outgoing personality. Hopefully he adds a lot to the team, Game 6 in LA, Game 7 in LA, I was pulling for the Celtics, so hopefully he’€™s the guy that pushes us over the top.

Do you think Wes Welker is pushing himself too hard to return for the season opener?

Wes is a great judge of that, he knows his body better than anybody else, and so he knows when he feels like, so when he feels like, “Man I can do it,” then you’€™ve got to trust that. Everybody’€™s different and obviously there are biological things that happen in your body in terms of healing, but Wes has done an incredible job, he’€™s so mentally tough, physically tough. His work ethic is unlike anything I’€™ve ever seen. I think he’€™s always has that chip on his shoulder that he was an undrafted free agent, he got cut by the Chargers, no one gave him much of a chance in Miami, and then he came here and through his work ethic and the perseverance he overcame a lot, like he can overcome with the injuries. If he says he can do it, then I know he can do it. And being through it before, I know what I felt like and I felt like I could do it, and Wes has proved a lot of people wrong thus far and I think he is going to continue doing that.

Is this the year the offense utilizes the tight end effectively?

We need to, we need to and I think we made a real concerted effort over the course of the spring and now in the summer to get those guys a big part of the plan, and I think what it does is creates more mismatches for you. And the tight end position, especially with the guys that we have that are playing there now, it’€™s a great group, there’€™s three of them. We haven’€™t had three tight ends on the roster in a while as well. Actually, it was really Ben [Watson], [Chris] Baker, a few years ago Kyle Brady and Dan [Graham], so these guys can all really play and the tight ends are going to be a big part of the offense in the run game and passing game.

Alge Crumpler, he’€™s a veteran in his 10th year, he was blocking for Chris Johnson for the last couple of years, those big years he had and I can see why Chris Johnson had so many long runs because Alge’€™s out there really as a dominating blocker. So, you add these two young guys, what they are able to do, and it’€™s a matter of them getting up to speed with the offense and being really accountable. And if they do that, we’€™re going to have a strong tight end position.

Read More: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Wes Welker,
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