Tom Brady talks Jimmy Garoppolo, future at Best Buddies charity event
|05.31.14 at 1:42 am ET|
Tom Brady ditched his football helmet and cleats for a pair of sneakers and a baseball cap — at least for Friday night.
The Patriots quarterback was once again under center Friday night at Harvard Stadium for his annual Tom Brady Football Challenge, a charity event benefiting Best Buddies International.
“It’s special for me, it’s special for my family and all the buddies and their families,” Brady said. “Everyone’s really worked hard to put this on. … It’s a great weekend for us to … have an opportunity to do this and it’s also getting closer to football season, so it’s great.”
Best Buddies International is a nonprofit organization, founded by Anthony K. Shriver in 1989, that is dedicated to establishing opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Brady held court with the press during halftime, and while the three-minute media session was brief, the New England signal caller touched on a variety of topics, including the upcoming season, newly drafted quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and, of course, the charity organization that he has volunteered with for the past 13 years.
Garoppolo was taken by the Patriots out of Eastern Illinois with the 62nd pick of the draft earlier this month. It was the highest spot that the Patriots have drafted a quarterback since selecting Drew Bledsoe with the first pick in the 1993 draft.
“He’s a really nice kid,” Brady said. “He’s a great guy, and all the new guys have really come in and hopefully they can play a great role on our team.”
The Patriots kicked off their OTA schedule earlier this week, with Brady stating that his team will need time to truly start to mesh.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Brady said. “It’s only been a couple of days. We’re a long ways from the season and we’re going to need all the practices that we can get.”
Brady also noted that while this time of year is an opportunity to shake off any offseason rust, he already feels ready for yet another campaign out on the gridiron.
“I feel great,” Brady said. “I try to really stay in shape. Especially this time of year, you’ve got to put the work in in advance and you’ve got to pay the price early. I’m trying to impart that on my younger teammates, that this is a really important time of year to prepare yourself to play a long season, so doing a two-a-day like we’re doing today is definitely part of the plan.”
The charity football game serves as the opening for Brady’s two-day Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port event. The Challenge is expected raise an excess of $4.5 million for the organization this year, passing previous fundraising milestones.
A multitude of guests, including other Patriots players, were in attendance and participated in the game on Friday, such as Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Jerod Mayo. Brady showed appreciation for his teammates coming up to support his event.
“It’s great. We’ve had so many guys that have put on different events over the years — karaoke events and bowling events — and the team does a golf tournament, so we get great support in the community and it’s neat that all the guys come out and support this,” Brady said. “It goes both ways. They’ve got my back, I’ve got theirs, and it’s fun to see them out here on a really special night.”
Brady, who started volunteering with Best Buddies when he was 23 years old, remarked that he instantly became hooked with helping out with the organization from the moment he attended on of its events.
“I’ve been a part of [Best Buddies] for a long time,” Brady said. “It’s a really infectious event. You get down here like I did 13 years ago for the first time and I always wanted to be a part of it.”
Before being whisked away to start the third quarter, Brady once again reiterated what he said during his interview with Sports Illustrated’s Peter King on Monday: While he may turn 37 in August, the three-time Super Bowl champion wants to keep playing for a long, long time.
“I hope so, that’s definitely part of the plan,” Brady said.