|Wednesday’s attendance at Patriots’ workout a tribute to the power of Tom Brady||06.02.11 at 12:12 am ET|
Roughly 40 Patriots players were on the field at Boston College’s Alumni Stadium Wednesday morning for a players-only workout that lasted just over two hours, a shorts and T-shirt affair that included some throwing and individual drills, according to reports.
These lockout get-togethers have become the norm across the NFL — almost each team has held some sort of formal workouts as the lockout continues to drag on. But with the Patriots, it’s a different deal. As Albert Breer of the NFL Network noted here, so few New England players live in the area year-round (compared to other teams who have held workouts) which makes it logistically difficult to put together a handful of starters, much less a reasonable facsimile of the active roster. As a result, the Patriots were able to assemble a roster of just over a dozen guys for workouts the last month or two, a group that went through a series of workouts — which were put together in large part by linebacker Jerod Mayo — but that was comprised almost entirely of locals.
While quarterback Tom Brady has spent his offseason mostly out of the public eye — other than an occasional shot of him flying down a waterslide or lending his name to Brady v. the NFL — he hasn’t been a part of any local, organized workouts. He has been seen doing some work individually on the West Coast, but the activity that has taken place in the area has gone on without the starting quarterback. That all changed Wednesday when he jumped back in with both feet … albeit one likely still suffering some mild aftereffects related to offseason surgery.
And so, the sight of 40-plus Patriots together on the field at BC Wednesday morning sends a clear message: no disrespect to Mayo and his organizational efforts over the last couple of months, but when the quarterback calls, you damn sure better pick up the phone. Sure, some of the players like Julian Edelman are sticking around for Brady’s charity event this weekend, while others have spent the bulk of their offseason working out in the area. But many of them were present specifically for this get-together.
Players could have begged out of this. Veterans on their own workout plans didn’t need to come to Chestnut Hill in June. Regardless of what you’re making, getting on a plane and flying across the country to participate in a shorts and T-shirt workout isn’t a simple proposition. Think of rookie Shane Vereen, who is saving money living with his folks in California during the lockout. (Really, think of all the rookies who were there — according to our pal Shalise Manza-Young, Vereen was joined by Nate Solder, Ras-I Dowling and Ryan Mallett. Unsigned and in limbo, what recourse do they have if someone pulls a Robert Edwards on a bad patch of turf?) Or consider Aaron Hernandez, Mike Wright and Ty Warren, all of whom ended the season more than a little banged up (in Warren’s case, he missed the entire season, and Wright ended the year with a serious head injury) and all could have easily said “No thanks.” But all three of them were there.
In the end, the fact that attendance for Wednesday’s workout was so high shouldn’t be a surprise, but ultimately serve as the latest example that now more than ever, this remains Brady’s team. His involvement — and the numbers that resulted because of it — remains a tribute to the level of respect he commands in the New England locker room.
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