Tom Brady delivers a birthday message with some punch
|08.03.12 at 7:26 pm ET|
FOXBORO — This wasn’t the birthday message Tom Brady wanted to deliver.
But after watching his teammates endanger themselves with two dog piles in the period of five snaps in training camp practice Friday, and being forced to run three laps on his 35th birthday, the quarterback had enough.
After Bill Belichick yelled at the team and had them run three laps the length of the field, Brady had his chance to get his unique message across.
“We need everybody here, everybody that’s on the field, we need them,” Jabar Gaffney said of Brady’s central message. “We can’t have foolishness out there like fighting and somebody get hurt.”
Why was Brady the right man to deliver the message?
“Brady’s our leader,” said running back Stevan Ridley, who had a great view up close of both the fights and Brady’s speech. “It’s Brady’s show out here so for him to say something, to voice his opinion, that’s nothing we haven’t heard before. He’s only going to tell us what’s best for this team and for us to get better. So, we all listen, we all key in when he talks because we all know that at the end of the day he’s just trying to get to another championship. And that’s what we want to do. We all buy into what he has to say.”
Added Gaffney, ‘He’s still the leader of this team and he goes out there and shows that and proves it every day.”
Friday’s foolishness was a scrum started when linebacker Bobby Carpenter charged in on center Ryan Wendell during a running play. Carpenter lost his balance and was dragged to the ground by Wendell, who then pinned him on the ground. Rob Ninkovich and Patrick Chung jumped on the pile and a dog pile ensued.
Belichick spoke to the team after the laps and quarterback Brady called for a players-only huddle.
“It’s the same stuff it always is,” Carpenter said after Friday’s practice. “It’s guys trying to go all the way through the whistle and things get a little heated and one thing leads to another and before you know it, there’s 60 guys out there. But Coach Belichick talked to us. Hopefully, that won’t happen again. We can’t be fighting ourselves. We have to be working to improve.”
Moments after the Carpenter-Wendell scrap, Dane Fletcher and Donald Thomas threw their arms and elbows at each other after getting entangled during a running play. The final fight involved backups, as defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick got into it with offensive lineman Darrion Weems. Belichick then interceded and told the players he had seen enough and sent them off to laps.
“There were a few choice words in there,” Carpenter said of Belichick’s disciplinary message at the end of the penalty laps. “But that was the general message… Competition is good, fighting is not. There’s a fine line between taking it to the whistle and taking it a little bit beyond. As it goes every year, as it gets hotter and camp gets longer, we’re in about nine, 10 days now, guys start getting a little irritated, agitated and things get a little hot sometimes but fortunately, that’s what those laps are for, to cool us off.
“That’s the first time I’ve done three laps probably since high school so that definitely was a surprise for me.”
After practice, Brady made his way off the field and accepted many birthday well wishes with a smile. It was as if he was relieved he could finally enjoy the rest of his special day.