In case you haven't heard, the talk of the town from a sports perspective this week has been about Tom Brady. Media reports began swirling again on Tuesday that he'd signed a contract extension with the Patriots, but when asked today about it, the franchise QB was mum.
He was asked, point-blank, if he'd signed a new deal
"No," he answered, "I've been in meetings all morning."
It's unusual for a player of Brady's caliber, at his glamorous position, to enter the final year of a contract. Typically, teams and such players work out lucrative, long-term deals when there are two years left. However, Brady insisted he isn't concerned about whether or not a deal gets done before the Patriots host the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday.
"It's not even a part of my thoughts right now. I haven't thought about it yesterday, today … I'm just thinking about the team we have to play. I owe that to this team. They have a lot of things going on, too, but when they come into work, they're focused on the team. I think that's my responsibility and my role, and that's what I love to do anyway. That's what I'm going to continue to try to do."
Brady wouldn't even allow himself, at least in front of reporters, to consider the possibility of being re-signed and having a future beyond 2010 with New England.
"I don't assume anything anymore in life. I don't think anything is guaranteed to us beyond what we have today and I really feel that way. That's the approach I've taken over the years, because you never really know when your last day will be. I really try to just take it one day at a time. I know it's a cliché and all that, but it's the truth. I think it's a great message for all of us. No matter what your job, you're living and enjoying today and that's what's most important to me.
"I think we're fortunate to get paid for something that we love," Brady added. "If we weren't getting paid, we'd have to find something else to do. There's no better job in the word that I'd rather have, to do what I'm doing. That's why I want to do it for a long time. Everything else in my life pales in comparison to how much I love this. In that sense, it's about winning games. That's what we're here for. We're expected to go out and win games. That's the real motivation for all of us. That's definitely the real motivation on our list."
Earlier in the morning, Brady made an appearance via telephone on Boston sports talk radio station WEEI and fielded more questions about his contract status.
"I'd say this," he told the Dennis & Callahan program, "There's always communication. I've been with the team for going on my 11th year. I've been communicating with them a lot about a lot of things. It's pretty uncomfortable talking about a contract because I know how coach [Bill] Belichick feels talking about it, and how Mr. [Robert] Kraft does and Jonathan [Kraft] does. I don't want to get into it. For me, it's the same as it's been. I'm trying to find a way to score some touchdowns against the Bengals. I didn't spend five minutes yesterday thinking about my contract or my future. I thought how we're gonna beat the Bengals.
"Listen, I love the Patriots," Brady continued in his radio interview, "I love the organization, what Mr. Kraft has done for me and my family over the years, I'm always grateful. And to play for coach Belichick, there's no coach I'd rather play for. That's how I've felt. That's how I'll feel today, tomorrow, Sunday, the following week and for as long as I'm playing. And beyond my playing years, I'll be grateful for what I have here."
Brady, who's building a house in California with his family, also stressed that he considers New England his home.
"I love being here. And the thought of playing somewhere else isn't a very good thought for me, and isn't a very good feeling. I would never want that to happen.
"I mean, my home's in Boston. That's where I live," Brady concluded. "We're building a house in LA, really, to be close to my son. And I'm from California too, so that's a place for me and my family to spend time when I'm not in Boston. When people say, 'Where do you live?' I say Boston, because that's where I'm at, that's where I call home."
Butler gets the message
It's no secret that Darius Butleris a fan of Twitter, as is Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco. Throughout the offseason, and particularly in recent days, the two have been engaging in a long-distance (and good-natured) trash talk session via the social media site.
"Honestly, I just responded to him. He just asked me a question and I just … Just talking noise. Just like I'm sure he'll be talking on the field. But it's nothing more than that."
Wait, doesn't he know that kind of thing is frowned upon here in Foxborough? Did he not get that memo?
"I got it now," he joked.
On a serious note, though, Butler says he has the utmost respect for his rival this Sunday.
"He's a great receiver. He's fast. Quick. Attacks the ball. Great hands. Obviously he's a veteran. People kind of get sidetracked with all the stuff he does off the field and all the trash talking he does, but he's definitely serious about his game. And I know that."
Ochocinco was equally impressed with what he's seen of Butler on tape.
"Yeah, he's pretty good. Not only is he good at Tweeting, but he's good on the field also," Ochocinco said during a conference call with New England media.
"I'm looking forward to the matchup against him and the rest of the defense."
So, if Ochocinco tweets another jab Butler's way, the Patriots corner will just sit and take it?
"I don't know. I always grew up, somebody say something to me I say something back. That hasn't changed, I guess. I don't know if I'll go on about it on Twitter. I might send a text message or two," Butler replied.
*Welker still working *
He's not listed on the first injury report of the season, which should be a good sign for Wes Welker's health.
"I think we're pretty close," the All-Pro wide receiver told reporters. "Every day's a little bit better. But even if I was 100 percent, there are things I can always get better at.
"I'm going to be out there ready. Everything feels good. Just getting precise with my routes and being on the same page with everybody on the offense."
As he continues his comeback from reconstructive surgery on his left knee, Welker may be looking forward to the regular season more so than usual, if for no other reason than he won't have to answer as many questions about his knee anymore.
"I'm very excited. Preseason and training camp is kind of a long deal. This is the real deal."
Wed 9/8 Practice Notebook
For news and notes from Wednesday's practice, please visit the PFW Blog.
Note: The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon will open Sunday near the conclusion of the Patriots-Bengals game at Gillette Stadium. The Hall, which is located just outside the stadium's north end zone, is closed before the game for an event, but will open at 4 p.m. and remain open until 7 p.m. The Hall is typically closed on game day, but this Sunday will offer football fans on site a chance to visit the team's hall of fame and modern, interactive museum experience after watching the Patriots-Bengals game. For more information about the Hall, log onto **www.thehallatpatriotplace.com* or call 508-698-4800.