Tom Brady confident at Patriots camp
FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (AP)
and pieces of gray stubble jut out from of his chin and cheeks these
days, hard to notice if you're not looking close enough.
A black brace is always secured to his surgically repaired left knee.
His hair is shorter, showcasing a slightly receding hairline.
One careful look at Tom Brady might reveal that he is celebrating his
35th birthday Friday.
the three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback of the New England Patriots takes the field at training camp, the unquestioned leader of
the team appearing as driven and determined as ever despite entering
his 13th season with the franchise.
''I still feel like a young
kid out here trying to earn a spot and I think trying to be a good
example,'' Brady said Saturday. ''Obviously, I have more experience
than most of the guys out here, but you still try to bring enthusiasm
and leadership and try to go out and do your job.''
February's 21-17 loss to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, Brady's
record-tying fifth championship game appearance, the organization
clearly made a concerted effort to try and make that job a little bit
easier, bringing in a bunch of familiar faces from Brady's unparalleled
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who guided the
Patriots' record-setting offense in 2007 when Brady tossed a
league-record 50 touchdowns, is calling the plays again after serving
as head coach of the Denver Broncos and offensive coordinator of the
St. Louis Rams.
Receivers Jabar Gaffney and Donte' Stallworth,
both members of that 2007 squad that went 16-0 in the regular season,
also are back in the fold, adding two more weapons to Brady's dynamic
cache, which already included receivers Wes Welker and Deion Branch,
and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
competition's good for all of us,'' Brady said. ''I don't think it's
anyone that's earned a spot. You've got to earn it every year. I think
the one thing about this place is there's no entitlement to the
positions out here. You do it based on what you earn. And that's why
you come out here every day working hard to develop that trust from
your coaches and your teammates, so that they want you out there.''
Gaffney, who played for New England from 2006-08, said Brady hasn't
changed a bit.
still the same — full of energy, loves to compete, wants to win on
every play,'' he said. ''And that helps us out, when you see
quarterback like that who wants to win on just every play in practice.
I mean, that's a guy that's inspiring.''
He's certainly having that effect on Brandon Lloyd.
deep threat who had by far his most productive season for McDaniels in
Denver in 2010, amassing 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns, is still
developing a rapport with Brady, constantly standing side-by-side with
his quarterback at camp whenever the two aren't donning helmets.
continuing to talk and work together and seeing what one another is
expecting out of the route running,'' Lloyd said, ''and eventually it
will start clicking.''
Brady is convinced it will, too.
wants to be a big part of this offense. I obviously want to help him
become a big part of this offense, so there's constant communication
between the two of us,'' the two-time league MVP said. ''I've thrown
the ball to a lot of the guys really except Brandon, so he and I have
some extra work that we've got to put in.''
Brady is coming off one of the best seasons of his illustrious career.
threw 39 touchdowns against just 12 interceptions and passed for a
career-high 5,235 yards, joining New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in breaking Dan Marino's mark for the most passing yards in a
But it's not just his on-field play that's well-documented anymore.
fact, he and his supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen, have a difficult
time going anywhere without being noticed by the paparazzi.
was recently captured on camera cliff diving in Costa Rica, saying
Saturday that it's getting harder and harder to keep his private life
He doesn't seem to mind, though.
thinking maybe about the Olympic diving team, but it's hard not to make
that splash,'' Brady joked of his leap. ''I'm glad we're back playing
football. That's what I enjoy most.''
He may be older, wiser and reportedly has another child on the way, but
Brady's modus operandi will never waver.
the only thing that matters. That's the only thing that matters with
your training, practicing, nutrition, rehab — it's to win,'' he said.
''Everything that you do when you come out here is about winning and
being the best you can be to this team.''
As players continue to
carousel around the league, including four-time league MVP Peyton Manning leaving the Indianapolis Colts after 13 seasons and signing
with Denver, Brady gains a greater fondness for playing his entire
career in the one place.
And when he turns 36 during training camp next summer, his passion will
likely still be right there with him.
love playing quarterback for this team. It's a great responsibility to
have and I appreciate it every single day,'' Brady said. ''There's
nothing I'd rather do than be out here being a quarterback for this
team. My life's pretty much built around that.
''To be out here
when practice starts and to be with your teammates, there's nothing
more fun than that. You've got to work as hard as you can so that you
can be the best quarterback for this team that I could possibly be. So,
that's what I think about every single day when I get up.''