Tom Brady was expected to play for three quarters of Friday night's preseason game against the Washington Redskins, but hard hit from Albert Haynesworth changed those plans. With all of the focus on Brady's surgically repaired knee, it was his throwing shoulder that ended his night early.
The play that Brady was hit, came with just over two minutes left in the second quarter. One third and six, Brady dropped back to pass targeting Greg Lewis. After he threw the ball Brady was leveled by Washington defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth.
The 6-foot-6, 350-pound Haynesworth pile drove Brady into the ground putting all his weight behind the hit. Brady landed with his shoulder in a prone position and was seen clutching at his side.
The hit looked clean, but it was apparent from the way Brady tried to stretch his arm on the sideline that it was bothering him.
When asked about Brady's condition after the game, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick declined to elaborate on the injury.
"I'm sure he has some bumps and bruises like everybody else who played in the game," Belichick said. It was a short response, but all that the coach cared to share.
When asked if Brady's absence in the third quarter was planned Belichick shifted the focus elsewhere.
"We wanted to get a look at Kevin [O'Connell] and Andrew [Walter] in the second half," Belichick said. When pressed if the hit had something to do with seeing the backups earlier than expected, Belichick only repeated himself. "We wanted to get a look at Andrew and Kevin in the second half."
Patriots tight end Chris Baker who was in on the play, offered little insight into Brady's condition other than saying it didn't look too bad.
"I've seen him take hits before and obviously he gets back up," Baker told the Boston Globe. "It was just one of those things where it was, 'Let me go get him up and let's get off the field.' ''
The Washington Post caught up with Brady's assailant, asking him about the hit.
"I mean, it wasn't like I was hitting Gisele or something; he's the quarterback," Haynsworth said. "It was good, it was fine."
Haynesworth went on to explain he wasn't trying to hurt the quarterback even though he obviously used his weight like a massive hammer trying to pound Brady's body 2 feet deep into the Fed Ex Field turf.
"I mean, I was trying to tackle him, but I wasn't trying to hurt him. I'm not that type of a player, you know? I'm actually a big Tom Brady fan. I'm a big Patriots fan. I've always like the Patriots, I've always liked Coach Belichick. I just like the way [Brady] is."
Brady wasn't seen after the game, and no comment was issued on his status. The team's only comment on his condition - other than Belichick's explanation - came during the game when the team issued a "sore shoulder" description on Brady's status.
Brady's early exit overshadowed his stellar performance reminiscent of his success in the 2007 Patriots offense. Brady hooked up with Randy Moss for a pair of touchdowns on a night he went 12 of 19 for 150 yards. Brady finished with a rating of 122.7.
Brady's touchdown passes were the only offensive TDs by New England. Kevin O'Connell managed get the Patriots into field goal range on the game's final drive. Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 30-yard kick to put the Patriots on top for good 27-24.
New England (2-1) returns to Foxboro to play the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium Thus. Sept. 3rd at 7:30pm.
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