Tom Brady was back on the field, in uniform and full pads, with his Patriots teammates at practice Wednesday. Reporters watched as he took part in the team stretching period and then jogged over to the opposite field where offensive skill position drills were to commence. That’s when the media viewing window closed, though, and the injury report released a few hours later indicated that Brady did not participate in the actual practice.
Afterward, however, he faced reporters who were curious to know if the previous day’s report that he sat out entirely to get his injured left shoulder examined was valid.
The QB just laughed off any suggestion that he’s in jeopardy of not playing this weekend when the Patriots visit the New York Jets.
“I’m good. I’m not worried about it. Yeah, I’ll be there Sunday. Don’t worry about that. I’ll be there,” Brady declared. “I think everybody does [play with injuries and pain]. I mean, there’s a lot of bumps and bruises over the course of a year. So, I’m not concerned.”
“Yeah, Tom’s as physically and mentally tough as any player I’ve coached. No doubt about that,” head coach Bill Belichick remarked earlier in the day when asked directly about Brady’s historic tendency to play through injuries of various kinds.
“Yeah, he’s one of the toughest,” echoed wide receiver Danny Amendola. “Football is his lifestyle. He doesn’t want to take a play off.”
“It’s a physical sport,” added Brady, “so, I think everyone is dealing with something. It’s just part of the sport. Everyone’s running around and they’re big and they’re fast and they hit hard. You have bumps and bruises, but you just deal with them the best you can and try to get ready for the next week.”
Meanwhile, left tackle Nate Solder, who spoke with the media on Tuesday, did not appear at Wednesday’s workout. He was excused for non-injury-related reasons, according to the injury report.
Brady’s current condition can be tied directly to Solder and the rest of his offensive line, which has surrendered a disturbingly high number of sacks (16 through five games) in 2017. A year ago, he was taken down a total of just 15 times all season. Yet, Brady stuck by his bodyguards.
“I think those guys have done a great job, I really do. I mean, I think they’re fighting their butts off on every play. The ball’s got to come out [of my hands] on time and find the open guy and cut it loose. You know, we’ve got to do a good job of that at the quarterback position.
“I love that group up front,” he emphasized. “We’ve got great tackles, great center, great guards. We’ve been in some competitive games and we’re going to keep fighting.”
AT LAST, THE EAST
Week 6 of the NFL calendar will mark New England’s first encounter with an AFC East opponent this season. As noted above, the Patriots pay a visit to MetLife Stadium Sunday for a 1 o’clock kickoff with a Jets squad that owns the same 3-2 record as New England and is playing what Belichick described as a “hungry” brand of football.
“We’re looking forward to it. They’re a good football team,” said cornerback Stephon Gilmore. “We have to go in there and play hard and try to get a win. They’ve got a good running game, some good receivers. They play hard. They don’t take plays off. You see that on film. They’re definitely physical.”
“We’re all excited. It’s an exciting place to play, always tough to play there. Hostile environment,” observed Amendola. “They’ve got a good group. Some youth in the secondary, some guys we’ve got to get used to, and then some guys we’ve played against, too. [They have] a lot of enthusiasm, flying around making tackles. They’re in the right spots, they’re extremely athletic. They’re a good team. It’s going to be a tough task for us.
“We’ve had a good week of preparation so far. We’re ready to go.”