FOXBORO, Mass. (Aug. 16, 2005) -- Tom Brady showed a strong arm after a lightened workload fed speculation that it might be sore. His ego, though, took a beating.
His New England Patriots teammates razzed him about photos in the morning paper -- one showing him holding a goat, another of him reclining with three dogs -- that accompanied an article in the current issue of GQ in which he appears on the cover.
"They got imitations of everybody. They're doing like The Silence of the Lambs," the quarterback said. "It was pretty funny."
He even had to take snaps from center Dan Koppen, who had one of the pictures taped to the back of his jersey.
"I was laughing the whole practice," Brady said. "But he who laughs last laughs best, so those guys don't know what's in store."
Despite his two Super Bowl MVP awards, Brady doesn't place himself above his teammates. They play pranks on each other and win and lose -- mostly win -- on the field together. So he's glad he'll be back with them Aug. 18 when he starts against New Orleans after sitting out Aug. 12 in the preseason opener, a 23-13 victory at Cincinnati.
"You don't like to see your guys take the field without you because it makes you feel like, man, maybe they really don't need me out there, which is kind of humbling," Brady said.
He hasn't thrown as much as he has in past training camps. Brady said the coaching staff wants to limit his throws now so his arm doesn't get tired late in the season.
He did practice Aug. 14, threw very little the next morning, then participated fully in the evening practice Aug. 15. In the single session the next day, he threw again.
"You saw him throw that 30-yard in (route), so he looks good. It got there," wide receiver Deion Branch said. "No worries for me.
"Trust me, all the receivers would be kind of down if something was wrong and I'm pretty sure the team (would, too). Oh, yeah, he's good. There's nothing wrong with him."
Doug Flutie also is expected to play after only Rohan Davey and Matt Cassel, the other quarterbacks in camp, faced Cincinnati.
Flutie and Cassel are new to the team this season, and coach Bill Belichick wants to give them enough practice time so he can judge them.
"The only way to evaluate them is to see them play," Belichick said.
He already knows what Brady can do.
"I feel good about where I'm at throwing the ball," Brady said. "Coach wants to get the other guys a look and, at the same time, it's nice to get a few days off of throwing.
"It's a long, long season and there's been a few years where my arm hasn't felt very good" toward the end.
In his four full seasons, he has thrown 32 passes per regular-season game. In nine postseason games, all victory, he averaged 33.8 passes.
On three consecutive passes over the middle in his latest practice, he threw a 20-yard incompletion toward David Givens, then completed passes of 10 and 15 yards to Benjamin Watson.
"Today, for the first time in a long time, we scored on a two-minute drive -- didn't have an interception -- so I was happy about that," Brady said.
"You always want to be perfect out there. But it's about really improving all parts of the game and trying to be more efficient on offense."
And shaking off good-natured barbs of teammates when the celebrity quarterback attracts attention off-field, like when he appeared on Saturday Night Live in underwear, socks and shoes -- or when he posed for GQ.
"I got it bad today, probably the worst I ever got it," Brady said with a laugh. "I think I'm going to have to deal with it for a few days, but I guess I deserve it."
The Associated Press News Service
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