Tom Brady discusses contract, Jets’ arrogance on D&C
|09.08.10 at 7:33 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning, in the wake of reports that he is about to sign a new contract with the team.
Brady refused repeated requests to discuss the status of his negotiations but made it clear how he feels about the team.
“There’s always communication happening with the team, for, going on my 11th year. I’ve been communicating with them a lot about a lot of things,” Brady said. “It’s pretty uncomfortable actually talking about a contract because I know how coach [Bill] Belichick feels talking about it and how Mr. [Robert] Kraft does and Jonathan [Kraft] does. I don’t want to get into it. For me, it’s the same as it’s been. I’m trying to find a way to score some touchdowns against the Bengals. I didn’t spend five minutes yesterday thinking about my contract or my future. I thought about how we’re going to beat the Bengals.”
Added Brady: “The reality is I have a job to do, and my job isn’t revolved around worrying about what my future is right now. My job is to be the best leader for this team that I can be and really to get ready to play the Bengals and play really well. Because of that, I think it’s pretty selfish if I sit here and that’s all I worry about it is myself. That’s not how I feel. I feel like I’m excited to finally get to the regular season and really get out there and do what I really love to do, which is to go out and play football for real.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
On if he would feel more comfortable having a deal in place before Sunday’s game:
I think everybody on our team would. Every player on our team would love that, every coach would. But that’s not the way things work. Listen, I love the Patriots, I love the organization. What Mr. Kraft has done for me and my family over the years, I’m always grateful. To play for coach Belichick, there’s no coach I’d rather play for. That’s how I’ve felt, that’s how I’ll feel today, tomorrow, Sunday, the following week, for as long as I ever am playing, and beyond my playing years I’ll be grateful for what I have here.
On if he thinks he’ll finish his career with the Patriots:
I’m always hopeful. Like I said, I love being here. The thought of playing somewhere else is not a very good thought for me. It’s not a very good feeling. I would never want that to happen. And at the same time, I think all of us players guard against that, because we’ve seen so many other players, Hall of Fame players, guys who are really the best that’s ever played at their position, have to move teams. And I understand that.
Look at coach Belichick. He was in Cleveland, he was with the Giants, he was with the Jets. It’s hard to say. I don’t make all those decisions. If it were up to me, I would be, but you’ve got to have a team that wants you to, and I’ve got to be able to perform at the level that they expect me to for that work.
On building a home in Los Angeles:
My home’s in Boston. That’s where I live. We’re building a house in LA really to be close to my son. And I’m from California, too. That’s a place for me and my family to spend time when I’m not in Boston. When people say, “Where do you live?” I say “Boston.” That’s where I’m at. That’s where I call home.
On ignoring distractions and focusing on football:
I definitely think there’s times I’ve done it better than others. All of us athletes ‘ certainly the guys on our team have an ability to do that as well. When you play a team sport, you’ve got to understand it’s not about you. Really, it’s about what best for the team, and what’s best for the organization. … In order to be a highly competitive player, a highly competitive athlete, you have to be tough enough to just screw everything else and worry about the task at hand. It’s a challenge, but also something that I really enjoy. The goal for me is to go out there and be the best quarterback I can be, and I know that if I’ve got 12 things on my mind, I can’t be that.
On comments from Randy Moss about the receiver feeling unappreciated by the team due to the lack of a new contract:
Randy is my locker mate. He’s one of my great friends on the team. He and I have a lot of conversations that are certainly very personal to the two of us, and there’s things that we talk about.
Randy’s been on — this is the third team that he’s been on. So, he knows what the business is, and he also knows what he can bring to the team. He’s a great player, and we’re better for having Randy Moss on the team. What he does for us on a weekly basis in practice and the game, there’s probably no the player in the history of the game who can do it. You take about compartmentalizing, that guy can compartmentalize. He’s very talented. He plays with his heart, and that’s become misunderstood from time to time, but he’s a great teammate and I really love having him.
On if Moss’ comments were more business than personal:
I’m not speaking for him at all. I don’t know what’s in his mind. I don’t think anyone knows what’s in his mind. Certain things are said. I wasn’t there to talk to Randy about that. I know that I talk to him all the time, and he’s ready for the season. What the future holds for him or for me or for anybody really is not on the forefront of our minds. What’s on our minds is this week. We’ve got to be able to put all those things on the back burner and worry about this week. Because if we don’t accomplish this week what we set out to, it’s just a downward spiral.
On if he would try to convince the organization to keep Moss:
I would love [for Moss to stay]. Of course I would. I would love that. It’s not my decision. I think this is something that’s out of every player’s control. We’re not general managers. I would love to have Logan [Mankins]. I would love to have some other players who have been extremely important to our team. But Randy is important, was important, will be important. Especially from my standpoint as a quarterback, I love Randy, and I’d love to play with him for a long time.
On if he has the cache to push management to keep certain players:
I wish. My job’s hard enough as it is. I don’t get into it very often. There’s times where I have. What’s going to happen is what’s going to happen. It’s not going to be because I have a lot of input. It’s going to be because the people who do have input in the decision-making determine something different. I understand that, and it’s not my job to worry about that, because certainly I have a job that I need to do.
On holdout offensive lineman Logan Mankins:
You’re talking about a Pro Bowl guard, a guy who’s been durable and tough and consistent and played with a nastiness about him that really our offense has needed over the years. Listen, nobody can replace Logan Mankins. Nobody can. There’s only one of those guys. It doesn’t change my job at all whether he’s here or he’s not here, other than we’ve been planning to play without him because he hasn’t been here. But he’s a special guy, he’s a special player, he’s a special talent. But once again, the business side of things doesn’t always really mesh up with the football side of things.
On looking back at his career:
It’s gone so fast. I really relish it. When you’re young, not that you take it for granted, you just don’t know. I think now that I’ve been able to play, and play in some really big games, there’s nothing I take for granted any more. Being out for a year, I really relish the opportunity I have to compete on a daily basis, and certainly on a weekly basis in the games.
I tell players who are in their first year that it’s going to go really fast. And you can put yourself in position to be here for a long time, or you can screw it up and be out doing something else in three years. I’ve been very, very lucky to be healthy, to be in a great organization, a great system, and to learn to grow throughout the whole period.
On reports that he played golf with Robert Kraft over the weekend:
No, I didn’t play any golf this weekend. We had a team party, which was a lot of fun. We had a surprise birthday party for my wife, which was a lot of fun.
What did you get her?
A party. What was I supposed to get her?
Yeah, there were some flowers. It was her 30th birthday a month-and-a-half ago. It was a belated birthday.
Is 30 traumatic for a supermodel?
No, not for her. But 30 is pretty special for all of us, I think. I had a surprise party on my 30th, so I figured I’d return the favor.
Would you prefer to be the preseason favorite or have enough question marks so that nobody pick you and you lie in the weeds?
We’ve been both. Obviously, none of it really matters. I’d say this: When you’re sitting there and everyone else is picking everybody else, it gets you kind of fired up. Obviously, today that’s worn off. But last night when I’m watching, I’m going, ‘Oh, really, is that really what you think?’ Then you think about standing up on the victory stand at the end of the year MF-ing everybody about picking other people.
That is a bit of a motivator, always being the underdog. We’ve had a lot of guys — as every team does — have chips on their shoulder, like I do and I always will have. Because you just know that this game comes and it goes. We’ve sustained something pretty special over the years. But also, we’ve found ways to re-invent ourselves when we’ve needed to. Hopefully this year we’ve really done that. It remains to be seen. I think we have a lot of guys on the team who are hungry. We have some young players, We’ve got a good mix of some veteran players. We’ll just see how consistent we can be. That’s going to be what determines the fate of our season. I know we can make a lot of good plays. We’ve just got to be able to do it consistently.
Does this team feel like a potential Super Bowl champion?
That’s hard to say. I’d say in ’07, I didn’t know what to expect. In ’01, I didn’t know what to expect. In ’03, I didn’t know what to expect. In ’04, I thought, “OK, we’ll be pretty good,” because we had basically the same team coming back from the year before. Every year it just depends on the maturity of the guys and the team. How it all comes together.
The identity that we have as a team is certainly not shaped yet. We’ve practiced and we’ve determined what we think we are and what we think we need to be, but that’s going to shift over the course of the first six or eight weeks of the season as we identify the things that are working and are not working. The goal is to be ready, hopefully, win your division and then put yourself in the position for playoffs. But there are so many games that need to be played to really determine what our strengths are. Those are the things that I think coach Belichick has done always a great job of determining, so that when crunch time does come, we really know what we are and that’s we’re going out to do and do it well.
On if he will watch “Hard Knocks” this week:
You guys can bet the house that there’s no way in hell that [TV] will be turned to HBO. I’ll be in bed, man. That show comes on late, anyway. It’s not something I’m interested in, that’s all. I’ve got plenty of other things to do.
On the Jets’ arrogant behavior:
That’s the way that they think they need to be. And it’s really the exact opposite of the way we are. And I have a lot of confidence in the way we do things here. And I’m sure they probably have a lot of confidence in the way they do things. That’s what makes for the rivalry. They believe in something, and we believe in something, and they’re pretty much the exact opposite. I know what we do is, I think we just try to stay humble, stay working every day, and let our play do the talking. Because really, that’s all that matters anyway. That’s what we’re going to go out and do this weekend. That’s what we need to do. We’ve got to get off to a great start.
Was it a tough decision to decide to sign the deal with the Patriots before Peyton Manning signed with the Colts?
Did I sign anything? [Laughing] I don’t know what Peyton’s status is. I know what my status is, and it hasn’t changed in a long time, in six years, in five years. I’m preparing like I always do. I’m preparing to go out here and have a great week, guys. Nothing else really matters to me. That’s the God’s-honest truth. I really don’t care if I had a 100-year contract. Really, what I care about is how I’m going to play this week, and I’m going to try to be really the best player I can be for our guys, for our team. Because that’s what they need. They need me to be a great quarterback this week. And that’s what I’m going to go out and try to be.