Tom Brady on Vince Wilfork: ‘To say we’ll miss him is an understatement’
|10.01.13 at 12:52 am ET|
Appearing at halftime of the ‘Monday Night Football‘ radio broadcast, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady held a wide-ranging Q&A with host Jim Gray, addressing the loss of Vince Wilfork, the progress of Rob Gronkowski as he makes his way back from rehab, and Peyton Manning‘s record-setting start to the 2013 season:
On losing Vince Wilfork for the remainder of the season with a torn Achilles: ‘Well, to say we’ll miss him is an understatement. His presence in the locker room and on the field is really unmatched, so it will be a team effort. I know Coach Belichick said there’s no Vince Wilfork’s on the street corner waiting to sign with the Patriots, which is the truth, but we’re going to have to find a way to—in a group effort— replace such a valuable player. And he’ll be around, his spirit, his leadership, he’ll still have a big impact on our team. But he’s been a great player for a long time and everyone’s disappointed about his injury.’
On if he can gauge what it does to the morale of the team when you lose such a player of that level of importance, like when Brady was lost to injury a few years ago: ‘Yeah, well initially there’s a blow to the team morale in that you wonder who’s going to fill in that spot and who’s going to take the void of such a great player. But then as soon as you get into the week, you start thinking about your job, how much you need to do and what the coaches are asking you, and then you really leave it to Coach to think of the things that he can do now to help replace a guy like Vince as well as personnel. So injuries are really a part of the game and I think we’ve learned over the years that there’s not one player that makes the team. Certainly losing a guy like Vince doesn’t help our team in any way, but we’re going to have to find somebody to go in there and do the job of that nose tackle position and do it to the level that they’re capable of. It’s a team sport so the rest of the team has to pick up the pieces.’
On if he sensed the severity of the injury when it occurred: ‘Well, I wasn’t sure of the severity, I know that Vince never really goes down and stays on the ground so when he came over to the sideline and I went over and tapped him on the shoulder to ask him how he felt and he just kind of nodded his head which, I knew at that point that it wasn’t a minor injury. So he’s as tough as they come. He’s been durable, consistent. Like I said, his leadership and his ability to motivate the other players on the defensive side of the ball has been one of the best I’ve ever seen. So we’ll miss him, we’ll miss him for the rest of the year, but I know he’ll come back next year strong and as determined as ever.’
On Rob Gronkowski and his injury status: ‘He’s been on the active roster for the last four weeks and I’ve seen him every day working as hard as he can to get back. So it ends up being a medical decision and that’s not my role. So I’m just waiting for the day that he does get back because he adds so much to our offense. Every week that he’s been out there he’s made significant improvement. So it’ll be great when he’s back and it’ll be great when we get Danny Amendola back and Shane Vereen back and finally we can see what our offense is really made of. Whether that’s this week or the following week or the following week.I mean those things are really not determined by me.’
On the Broncos and Peyton Manning’s success: ‘Well it’s been incredible. They make it look so easy and as we all know, there’s not an easy game in the NFL. But the way they’re performing is exceptional. It’s a credit to the players and the coaches and you can’t get off to a better start than what they’ve done offensively and certainly what Peyton’s done. But he’s done that for his entire career. Nothing really surprises me with him and his performances.’
On if he’s jealous of Peyton: ‘I’m not. I admire it more so than anything. I have so much respect for him and the way he prepares for the game and the way that he carries himself, his professionalism, on and off the field. I have so much respect for him and what he does. And obviously the guys he’s playing with are all on the same page and that’s the only way that you can perform at such a high level and that you all have trust and confidence in one another. They’re going to be tough to beat. Any team that takes on the Broncos is going to need to play a great game and we’ve got them later in the year, we’ll see where we’re at at that point, but it’s been pretty impressive to watch thus far.’
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