Tom Brady, rest of Patriots captains look to ‘ignore the noise’
|07.25.13 at 12:42 pm ET|
FOXBORO — While they all acknowledged the seriousness of the situation, quarterback Tom Brady, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and defensive back Devin McCourty all said Thursday morning they believe there’s enough character in the New England locker room to be able to rise above any distractions that have been placed in front of the team in the wake of the Aaron Hernandez arrest.
Speaking at the start of training camp, all three captains sounded confident that the current roster will be able to “avoid the noise” — one of the messages at the players’ entrance at Gillette Stadium — and keep their focus on the task at hand.
“Coach [Bill] Belichick really relies on our input and we rely on each other to bounce ideas off each other to really get a feeling for the team and for how the team is feeling and what the team needs,” Brady said of working as a captain in difficult times. “There’s no one who has better instincts on coaching than coach Belichick. He knows exactly how to get the best out of us. I would say we’re always looking for ways to improve. Certainly, our leadership and our ability to communicate with everybody on the team to get the best out of each other is something we can all work at.
“The more guys that you don’t have to worry about and you can just trust to do their job, that’s the better the team is going to be, because you can’t have 10 guys doing one thing, 10 guys doing another and 10 guys doing another,” he added. “Everyone has to, at some point, be going in the same direction. We’re trying to get everybody going in the same direction, and try to understand how we need to win football games, and certainly how we need to conduct ourselves off the football field and within the community. Nobody puts more stress on that than coach Belichick and Mr. [Robert] Kraft and Jonathan [Kraft]. I’ve seen that for 14 years. We’ll just go out and try to do a better job.”
Said Wilfork: “[You] control what [you] can control. First and foremost, it’s a sad situation for the victim’s family. You’re not dealing with just football right now — you’re dealing with human beings. You’re dealing with life. It’s just sad. You’re disappointed. But at the same time, you get the chance to come to something we love to do — play football. One thing we have to do is just keep everything separate and control what we can control and that’s playing football and getting better each day. That’s my main focus — try to do that.
“When we walk through that door, we have a sign that says, ‘Put the team first and do your job.’ And you have to read it every time you come in. I’m pretty sure I will, even though it’s been there for a long time and I do it every year, I think we’re all going to do it. That’s what we’ll have to do. It’s going to be a lot of things said and done throughout the course of this year, but we’re going to have to be able to move forward, we’re going to have to be able to come in here and ignore the noise and work as hard as we could to win ballgames. It’s going to be tough, but at the same time, it has to be done. And that’s our goal.”
Added McCourty: “I think it’s up to us to be leaders right now. To go out and lead the team. The best way we can do that is to go out and show them and do things the right way and show the younger guys what to do and what not to do. [Just] continue to be leaders of this team and show guys how it’s supposed to be done.
“Coach Belichick talks about [ignoring the noise] all the time. No matter how it is. If people telling us how great we are, or people telling us how bad we are, that doesn’t matter. All that matters is what goes on in this building and how we can get better.”