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Brady draws a big crowd at his annual ‘Best Buddies’ game

06.01.12 at 9:40 pm ET
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Tom Brady rolls into Harvard Stadium Friday night. (WEEI.com photo)

ALLSTON — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hosted his annual touch football game at Harvard Stadium on Friday night, and managed to get a sizable number of his teammates to take part. Brian Hoyer, Julian Edelman, Jerod Mayo, Nate Solder, Nick MacDonald, Zoltan Mesko, Dan Koppen and Rob Gronkowski were among those in attendance as part of a weekend that benefits Brady’s “Best Buddies” charity.. Here are a few highlights of the Q&A the media had with Brady, Solder and Koppen:

Brady on the game after two quarters: “It’s nice having a lot of my teammates out here, supporting it. There are a lot of great teammates of mine that do a lot of things for the community and spend a lot of their time over the course of the year to put events on like this. It’s nice when they show up to your event. Jerod and Zoltan and Nate and [Koppen] and Brian Hoyer and Julian and Nick MacDonald, we’ve got a great group. Hopefully, next year, it’s even a bigger event and we grows and we raise more money and awareness for all these wonderful buddies, like my pal here, Katie.”

Why is [Best Buddies] so special to you? “Well, I came here 11 years ago. We didn’t have the game then, but I went for the ride, and felt the commitment that the parents make and the buddies make and that Anthony [Shriver] has made to the community and this particular organization, I felt like I wanted to be a part of it for a long time. I’ve made a lot of great friends. It’s a great group that puts this on every year, and I’m happy to play a real small part.”

Good to see teammates out here as well. Looked like Julian [Edelman] was taking it pretty seriously: “Yeah, Julian is always taking it so serious. There’s not a sport where Julian is not competitive. He’s a lot faster than Brian [Hoyer]. Thank God he’s faster than Brian.”

On working in the community: “Well, it’s really stressed by our ownership, and I think the players really enjoy it and they take part in special nights like this. Zoltan is having ‘Zolioke’ in a few weeks, taking over for Larry [Izzo], and Jerod has his ‘Mayo Bowl,’ which is a lot of fun. There are a lot of guys, Joe Andruzzi does a lot for this community. It’s important. We have an opportunity to make a difference, and a lot of guys take that opportunity and do some great things with it.”

Do you have a message for the Celtics tonight? “You’ve got to win this one. I hope they do. Their backs are against the wall and they have a great opportunity at home. I’m rooting for them.”

On Tim Thomas saying he’d take a year off: “I heard that today. That would suck.”

Koppen
On the possibility of a center-eligible pass play in 2012 after his touchdown catch:

“I don’t think I could get that one cleared with Bill and [Brady]. I don’t think he’s going to let me do it. They might suspect that one coming.”

What brings you out tonight? “Best Buddies. It’s been a charity that’s been close to my heart and I’ve been coming here every year since I’ve been in the league. It’s just a tremendous organization helping the intellectually challenged. Anthony Shriver does a great job. We’ve got great people here. The volunteers. Tom, obviously. It just helps a lot of people.”

On the offensive line at the OTA’s, including his thoughts on newcomer Robert Gallery: “He’s coming out and doing his job and working hard and trying to get things right. He’s coming from a different system and has to learn how we do things. So far, he’s a great guy and great player. He just comes out and does his work. And that’s what OTA’s are for — moving guys around and seeing what they can do and what we can do and seeing how much pressure they can handle. It’s early.”

Solder
What brings you out tonight?
“It’s awesome. The first time I met a lot of these guys was at this game last year, so it’s neat to be here and spend a year with them and get to know them. It’s really neat that all these guys are giving back and doing this kind of thing. And this is something we all want to do. Everyone that’s here really likes doing this. It’s a neat event for all of us.”

With last year’s lockout, can you compare this year to last year? “I missed out on so much. A lot of the time was spent getting ready and getting to know the guys, and I didn’t have that last year, which I have this year. Which is nice.”

On filling Matt Light’s shoes–any pressure? “I think it’s a high-pressure game. We’re all under a lot of pressure. I certainly take that responsibility seriously, and I prepare myself every day.”

Do you have to flip everything in your brain, having to go from right tackle to left tackle? “I played left in college, so it’s like coming back home, I guess.”

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