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Brady in 'pre'season form

Tom Brady met with the media on Friday and his excitement for a new season shined through. He claimed his knee brace is no longer on his mind and the team's heavy workload to open camp is a welcomed opportunity to improve.


Nothing, not another day of rain, the prospects of a week's worth of double sessions nor nearly a year of grueling rehab on his surgically repaired left knee could dampen the enthusiasm of one Tom Brady.

So, when the Patriots leader finished up his work after Friday morning's practice, it was difficult for him to contain his excitement – even as he enters his 10th NFL season.

"I'm feeling like it's the sixth day of training camp. It's been fun to be out here," Brady said with his trademark smile. "We have a lot of work to do. It's obviously fun to participate and be a part of all the activities and I'm as excited as anybody.

"There's just a lot of excitement. It's a new year. There are some new challenges for us and there are some great opportunities. We have a veteran team and I think as a quarterback training camp is a little bit different for us than everybody else – we're not hitting or a part of the tackling drills. It's about the only time I can yell at the guys that are a lot bigger than me and not get my [butt] kicked."

Those words were a continuation of what Brady relayed back in the spring when he took part in the team's OTAs and mini-camp. Now the pads are on and right in the thick of things, delivering passes and exhorting the troops just as he did a year ago before his world came crumbling down with one blow to the knee from Kansas City's Bernard Pollard.

The time away has only deepened Brady's appreciation for the game while also serving to further fuel his desire to get back to the top.

"I think I've learned a lot of things that I couldn't have learned had I been playing," Brady said when asked if anything good came from his injury. "Things that help you grow as a person, as a player, as a leader, as a teammate, and I'm going to take those lessons and hopefully be a better player for them. When you're sitting and watching it's no fun. You're not a part it, even though you are a part of the team. I feel a part of it now."

And Brady expects that continue right into the preseason. Bill Belichickwas non-committal on Thursday when asked if Brady would take part in any exhibition games, saying the team's focus was "more short sighted" as the staff was simply trying to prepare for the next practice. Brady, conversely, made it clear that he intends to be on the field with his teammates throughout the summer.

"Yeah, I think I'll play," he said. "Last year, it wasn't like I wasn't supposed to play. I would have loved to have played, but some circumstances came up where I couldn't. I think it's really important for a quarterback to be out there playing. If you're the leader of the offense, you have to be out there leading in the preseason and the practices. I'm excited for those games, because I think we can make improvements in those games."

Brady continues to wear the bulky black brace on his left knee but claimed he barely gives it a second thought. He said it in no way restricts his movement and that he was far more concerned with getting his job done.

"It's the last thing I'm thinking about out here," Brady said. "I have so many other things to think about trying to complete the ball. You put the thing on and then you take it off. I don't think too much of it.

"Have I gone from slow to slower? That's possible, but that doesn't matter much for me."

The results on the field would certainly back up those claims. While it's difficult to assess his movements since he isn't exactly Michael Vick when it comes to running, his throwing has been as close to normal as could be expected. The heavy rains affected some passes Thursday morning, but Brady was razor sharp in the afternoon and carried that into Friday.

He'll need to be close to 100 percent given the heavy workload Belichick has planned for the entire team. With double sessions scheduled for each of the first seven days of camp, there won't be much time to rest. Brady seemed more than happy with that and looked at the busy schedule as a chance to improve.

"It was a tough year for us last year," Brady explained "We had a tough first half of the year and the second half of the year we really came on. But it was just too late. A lot of the mistakes we made early in the year – I think that's why coach wants to get us off to a much better start than we did last year, 0-4 in the preseason – this year he wants to get us off to a much better start. It's a long camp but it goes fast. Every day that we're out here is valuable for us. There are a lot of important practices left."

Unfortunately, he hasn't had many chances to work with Randy Mossduring camp. Moss missed the opening practice before returning for the afternoon work, and then sat out Friday morning's session as well. But Brady says working with such a gifted player makes things much easier.

"It's easy to have great chemistry with Randy, he's the best receiver probably to ever play the game," he said. "You just have to throw it where he's running, because he's usually open. We spent a lot of great time this offseason, also with Wes [Welker], Joey[Galloway] was here a lot, Greg [Lewis] was here a lot. I feel like we've got off to a really good start. But this is really when it all begins.

"Randy, when he's out here, he's one of the hardest working guys we have. He's so fun to have on the team. He's a great teammate. We have a great relationship. There has been a lot of trust that has been built up over the last few years. I look forward to being back on the field with him."

It was a trying year for Brady but one he says he's learned from. His upbeat manner was so evident during his meeting with the press that a reporter asked him specifically about his positive state of mind. As usual, the quarterback was prepared.

"My boss always says 'every bump is a bounce,' and it's a very true statement," Brady said. "This team, when you lose games, you learn from them. In life, when things don't go the way you plan them, you learn from them -- whether it's an injury or anything else."

When asked to identify the boss, Brady was quick with a quip.

"LRC -- lower right-hand corner of the paycheck," Brady said, drawing laughter.

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