FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Reigning NFL MVP Tom Brady suffered a serious knee injury in the season opener that will end his 2008 campaign, reports NFL Network's Adam Schefter.
Brady left Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs after being hit on the left leg. He has started 128 consecutive games, but went to the turf clutching his left knee midway through the first quarter when he was hit in the pocket by Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard. After being tended to on the field, he walked off, limping, between two trainers.
Meanwhile, free-agent quarterback Chris Simms is scheduled to arrive in New England Monday morning for a workout and a physical, Schefter reports. If all goes well, Simms could be a Patriot by the end of the day. Kansas City and Tennessee, each of whom had quarterbacks suffer significant injuries on Sunday, also have contacted Simms.
Brady, 31, went to the locker room and was not seen again on the sideline as backup Matt Cassel led the Patriots to a 17-10 victory. The two-time Super Bowl MVP was not available for comment after the game, and coach Bill Belichick said he had nothing to add to the in-game announcement that it was a knee injury.
Brady was 7-for-11 passing for 76 yards, completing a 26-yard pass to Randy Moss on the play in which he was injured. Moss fumbled the ball away when he was tackled; the Patriots forced Kansas City to punt, then Cassel came in for New England.
"Since I've been here and been around Tom, he's always popped back up," Cassel said. "I didn't know (how serious it was). I just buckled my chinstrap and the guys rallied around me. I felt their support."
Cassel took over at his 2 yard-line and, after two handoffs nearly netted the Chiefs a safety, completed his first pass to Moss for a 51-yard gain. Cassel, Brady's backup for the past three years, finished the 98-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Moss that gave New England a 7-0 lead.
"This is something I've been preparing for for a long time," said Cassel, who threw just 33 passes while backing up Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at Southern Cal. "It's not something I expected to come up on opening day."
A former fourth-stringer who was the 199th overall selection in the 2000 draft, Brady himself took over at quarterback when longtime starter Drew Bledsoe sustained a life-threatening chest injury in a 2001 game against the New York Jets. Brady led the Patriots to their first NFL title that year, another in 2003 and another in 2004.
In the process, Brady has become one of the league's biggest stars and a crossover cover boy who has met the Pope and the president, dated actresses and supermodels and rewrote one of the NFL's most coveted records.
Last year, while leading New England to a 16-0 regular season, Brady set a record with 50 touchdown passes and improved his overall record as a starter to 100-27 -- the best in the Super Bowl era. The Patriots blew a chance at an unprecedented 19-0 season and a fourth NFL title with a 17-14 loss in February's Super Bowl to the New York Giants.
Brady did not play in four exhibition games this summer -- all of them Patriots losses -- while trying to recover from a right foot injury.
"He's the face of the New England Patriots, and Tom being who he is it kind of hurts, to be honest with you," said Moss, who caught 23 of Brady's TD passes in 2007, also a record. "I know the show must go on. Hopefully Matt Cassel is ready to step in. I know the team is ready to embrace him and let him lead us."
The Associated Press contributed to this story