QB Tom Brady.
Q:How are you feeling? Do you want to give us an update on the progress of your knee from the last two months or so?
TB:Yeah. I've been feeling really positive. You know, getting back into the football stuff - it's a little different than the training you do - working out normally in the offseason, so it's good to come out on the field. There is obviously a lot of rust by all of us being off for four months. We're working hard to make the improvements we need to make. Thank God the season is a few months away, but we need the work and I need the work. I think everybody realizes when you come out after four months off there is a lot of work for us to do.
Q:Have you talked to any other quarterbacks who have gone through this about what their experiences were?
TB:Not really. No, I haven't.
Q:Anyone else at all? Any players that you've talked to that have been through it?
TB:There have been a couple of guys on our team that have had knee injuries. It's about staying positive and putting in the work. You've got to do the rehab. Nobody likes to do rehab. I'm glad we are back into the football stuff and we are back into throwing the ball on the field. That's the stuff that I enjoy the most.
Q:Do you have to learn how to throw again with the knee the way it is?
TB:The throwing is not the problem at all. At this point it's just about getting back to the football activity. I am doing the football activities not for my leg, but for the rest of me - my everything. My body feels really good. My arm feels good. I'm not completing as many passes as I want, but we haven't been out here very long. I think it's just about getting better every day. If you can do that, and you can make continuous improvements over the course of weeks and months, you'll be a better player.
Q:There's no adjustment with having to wear a brace on your leg and getting used to that?
TB:No. You don't even really notice it. I would rather not wear, but [Head Athletic Trainer] Jim [Whalen] is forcing me to wear it, so I have to listen to him.
Q:With your lifestyle being glamorous, are you still as hungry and competitive as you've always been?
TB:I'm a believer that talk is real cheap. I'm someone that likes to put the work in. I know it looks glamorous at times. I think what I enjoy the most is playing football and being with my family, and those are the kind of things that I do. I'm excited to go out there and compete and anytime I have a chance to compete, I love that. Whether it's on the practice field or the game field, which unfortunately is a few months away for us, you just have to come out - and I always enjoy that.
Q:You said last year was the halftime of your career. What did you mean by that?
TB:Well, I think we all have goals that we set for ourselves and how long you want to play. Fortunately for a quarterback, you can play for a long time because you don't get hit very often. I hope I have the opportunity to play for a long time. I think when you sit on the sidelines for an entire year you realize how much you love it. Not that you need that to happen to be grateful to play, but you experience things in a much different way and a way that I never experienced as an athlete. I love being out here. I love participating and being around these guys. We're working for some big goals we set, so we just have to, like Coach Belichick says, come out here and work hard every day and do our job.
Q:Does this year off make you think about your athletic mortality?
TB:Like the end of my career?
Q:Well, did it make you think that it's getting closer than...
TB:The reality is in this sport, you really never know with... Any day could be your last day in football. You come out and it's a very physical game and I think you're just grateful for having a chance to compete in practice and be on a team and having a great job. I think all of that stuff we are very happy about and happy to participate in. I don't think about the end too often. Hopefully this is still, relatively, in the early part of my career. I guess you will have to talk to me in a few years.
Q:You used the word rust. Getting back out here does it feel like a long time? What are your emotions?
TB:I've been playing football for a long time so you don't have to relearn how to do anything, you just have to go out and try to be sharp. I don't think I've been very sharp the last three days in practice. It takes a lot of reps and a lot of throwing. You see the defense and you make the throws and there are adjustments you have to make on the field. The football part and understanding our offense - I mean, obviously, I have a good understanding of that - it's just a matter of putting it together at a different speed than you can go out and practice in the bubble in March and April. It's nice when team activities are on the field and there's blitzes and you can signal guys and something happens and a guy slips on a route and now you have to throw to a different player. Those are the things that you've got to sharpen up. There's a lot of training camp practices. There's probably 50 training camp practices that we'll have and I think each one of those will be valuable for all of us. I'm looking forward to those because I haven't had the opportunity to do that in quite awhile.
Q:I would imagine your rehab is probably 75 percent done and I would think you probably still have some limitations. You don't feel like you are 100 percent yet, do you?
TB:I feel as good as I could possibly feel. I don't think about it. It doesn't bother me doing anything. It's feeling really good and it's about as good as I can say. I'm real happy with where I'm at and I come out to these workouts happy to participate in them. That was something that was a big goal for me to be able to do.
Q:If the opening game would be two months away do you think you'd be ready or do you think you need four months?
TB:I will take every day that I have. Believe me, I'll take every day. We have a lot of work [to do] and there are a lot of new faces and new coaches. There's been a lot of change for us this year and we have to use it to our advantage.
Q:Did you learn anything while you were out from watching the game that you can put into practice now?
TB:Yeah, you're not in the day-to-day of the football, which as a football player - like everybody - your job, when you're in it every day, it's a grind. You get up and you go to work and there is quite a routine. I didn't have that routine this year, so there are other things that you see. I said earlier, some of those things when you are in that marathon of a season it's just getting through the next day and getting through the game. You start complaining about the little things. When I was sitting out last year you hear all the guys start [in] November, December - that later part in the year when the guys are starting to get worn down - I'm going, 'Come on guys, push through it, just win the game.' That's how Coach Belichick coaches us, and I saw it from a different perspective in that sense. So hopefully there's no complaining from me this year.
Q:Naturally a lot of people are comparing this offense to 2007 - you have some new tools in Joey Galloway and Greg Lewis. What are your expectations and do you think it will be better?
TB:Well, we have guys that are experienced players. Obviously, Randy [Moss] and Wes [Welker] at receiver and we've added some tight ends and Joey and Greg are here as well. There's a lot of work that we need to do to get on the same page. I know the kind of effort we put in in 2007 and we need to match that, and in 2008 as well - we worked hard that offseason. It didn't work out for us in the end, but I think this year is another bit of excitement, it's a new challenge and that's why we are out here practicing. I don't think you overlook anything out here. Every rep we are trying to complete is for a reason. There are signals [to learn]. We're walking through the two-minute drill today. We're trying to all get on the same page and that's going to carry over into training camp and training camp carries over to the season. We have a lot of tough opponents this year. We have a challenging schedule and we are going to need the work that we have. I think the new guys - they are a bit overwhelmed with the offense and the terminology and the speed of how I'm spitting things out in the huddle and how I'm changing things at the line. We are all trying to get used to that.
Q:What's been the biggest surprise for you over the last two days?
TB:This is a hard game and it's one of those things that if you're not doing it every day and you're competing at this level, you always think it's going to get easier as you get older and you are going to complete more balls. That's not the way it works. You've got to come out every day and put the work in. You can't take anything for granted and you can't think that because you completed it last year a certain way that that's the way it's going to be this year. We've got a group of hard working guys and I'm very appreciative of that as a member of the team because I don't have to motivate those guys. They are really self-motivating and they're willing to work and we are willing to put the time in together. I think we're going to need all that hard work and commitment from everybody to make it a successful season.
Q:A lot of good things happened for you off the field this year - you were able to spend more time with your son and you got married. Can you address that and how it was?
TB:Sure. I'm a very optimistic person. I cherish those moments. There's been great things happening in my life for a long time and certainly this year was no different and different areas of success with marriage and with children. It's a great part of my life and so is work. I'm excited for all those things coming together. I think I'm a happier person when I'm working.
Q:You're going to have to juggle a little more.
TB:Yeah, certainly. I think there are a lot of constraints on your time and it's about prioritizing and doing the best you can do.
Q:You said "children" in a previous answer. Is there another one on the way?
TB:No. It's... No. One is enough. I have dogs and that's all I need.
Q:Aside from the knee, how rusty do you feel?
TB:I feel like it's springtime - 50 degrees and rainy in Boston. It's the start of a new year. I wish we'd come out and throw 90 percent completions out here every day and [have] everyone on the same page and [have] no mental errors, but because we are so new to this there are a lot of mistakes we are making. We have to try to make those improvements every day. We go in, watch our film and listen to Coach and hopefully we can build on each day. So like I said, we can look back two months from now and know that we're prepared for training camp.
Q:When you think back about the day you were injured, is it something you put in the back of your mind?
TB:I really don't think about it. I've never really thought about it. I've never really focused on it. I think I felt bad for myself that night and then I think I moved on after that. Since then it's about trying to get better. There's nothing you can do and you have to find ways to move on. Like I said, I'm grateful to be out here. To have the chance to come out here and play is something I've wanted to do my entire life and I've had the opportunity to do it for nine years and I'm at it again for my 10th. Randy [Moss] jokes that he wishes this was training camp. I think in a lot of ways we feel the same way that we are going to put the work in and we want to come out and get back to doing what we love to do.
Q:Have you talked to other players with this injury?
TB:I haven't - just the guys on my team that are supportive and encourage me, but no one in particular that I've sought out.
Q:With your glamorous lifestyle, does the football field feel like a sanctuary for you?
TB:Yeah, the football field... You are one of the guys here and I enjoy that. In other parts of my life it's just that once I had a little bit more privacy back in the past, but that's okay and I learn to manage it and I still find ways to enjoy myself, certainly here - I always have fun here. Personally, I really enjoy the things I'm doing. This is a great place for me.
Q:At this point what could stop you from being ready for the season opener?
TB:I said anything that could stop anybody. There're a lot of things that could happen in two months. I have to drive home this afternoon in Boston traffic, you never know what could happen. Knock on wood please. We're out here preparing and I don't anticipate anything. I hope there's not. We'll deal with something if something does... lighting striking, I don't know.
Q:How do you feel about playing in London?
TB:I'm looking forward to that. Mr. Kraft told me last year the day that it was announced. I was excited. Especially that it's an away game for us and a home game for them. I'd much rather play in London than at Tampa's stadium. It's the middle part of the year and it will be fun to play at a different place. I know the NFL works hard to expand into different countries all around world and get more fans. I think the players understand that and we're willing to do that. We love the game and we want other people to love the game too.
Q:Randy Moss and Wes Welker talked about how their experience in the offense is really going to help what you guys had in 2007. What do you think about that showing up now and going into the year?
TB:Those two work extremely hard. They were pretty good two years ago when they got here and they were great last year. I expect them to be great this year and there isn't any reason why they shouldn't be. They work hard. They know the offense. They're accountable and they're great leaders. They need to play well. If they don't play well then obviously we're not going to have a very good football team. When your best players are guys that are the hardest workers - I know Coach Belichick loves that. I think all the players look up to those guys and their leadership ability.
Q:What's the adjustment without Josh McDaniels out here?
TB:You know Josh and I had a great relationship. As a part of the NFL, things change every year. There're 13 new head coaches and he's one of them. I really hope that we find ways to move on without him, and we've already started that process. It doesn't stop for anybody around here. You leave and someone else fills your spot and they're anxious for the opportunity. We have to work hard to get up to speed on everything and the coaches that are in that role are doing that.
Q:Is it kind of quiet without [Mike] Vrabel?
TB:You noticed that too don't you? Vrabel, Rodney [Harrison] - there is definitely not as much noise. We miss those guys and we love those guys. They are our great friends and we wish them well.
Q:Were you surprised about the Vrabel move?
TB:I'm not surprised by anything anymore. It's part of this game and it's part of the league. I know Mike's happy to have a job. We are all happy to have a job. Like I said, Mike's a great friend of all of ours. We miss him and I know he misses us, but if we ever play Kansas City than we are going to want to beat the crap out of him.
Q:Was there ever a point in your recovery that you thought you might not be ready?
TB:No, I think part of surgery and rehab is that you have setbacks and you just deal with them. It doesn't always go as you plan it. Life doesn't go how you plan it. It's a matter of dealing with it [and] understanding, what do I have to do to get back on the right track. It didn't really set me back for very long, probably just long enough from keeping me from really hurting myself.
Q:Did you pay attention to the speculation about your knee and were you amused by any of it?
TB:I'm amused by a lot.
Q:Some Pats fans might be concerned today to look at the paper and see you riding your bicycle without your helmet on. Tell me about that?
TB:Do I need a helmet?
TB:I do? I'm not even going very fast.
Q:You have to wear a helmet.
TB:I'll get a helmet. I'll see if Mr. Kraft can provide me with a helmet.
Q:Have you lost weight? Are you at your playing weight?
TB:I think I'm a little more than my playing weight. I try to work on my strength a lot. There're different things you try to find [to make] improvements on. I'll be right back to where I need to be in a few months. I need some warm weather.
Q:Are there things you would like to do but you are holding back a little bit?
TB:I always try to do as much as I can do. I'm never a person that does not enough because I'd regret not doing enough and think I probably could have done more. I probably go too far and have to reel myself back in, which works in some things and other things it doesn't work. I think as far as I'm concerned now, coming out here, I'm trying to do everything I can do and I'm trying to do everything in the offseason program since it started. It's been good because now I come out here and there's nothing I'm worried about. I just try to play better, which I didn't do very well today.
Q:What do you think about Joey Galloway and Fred Taylor and the new weapons on offense?
TB:I think it's great. I love having veteran players come onto this team because they have the experience. They know football and they know the language and terminology and the learning curve is so much accelerated for them. It's challenging in our offense for a young player because there's a lot that we do. It changes every week. Especially as a receiver, you might be in one spot one day and the next spot the other [day] and the route we are calling - there are three different variations to the route based on the coverage. It's tough, so when you have a veteran player, he's - ok yeah, I get that, I did that. When you get a rookie, he's trying to make sure he gets out to practice on time. When you have Fred who's excited to run the plays and now he has to learn our terminology versus the terminology he's known... He's excited, he feels excited to be here. That youth comes out in him, so I think hopefully we are going to get the best out of both he and Joey and Greg Lewis. I don't know if you saw that catch he [Greg] made today, but that was ridiculous. I told him that was the one he caught in the Super Bowl - that weasel.
Q:Have you told those guys that you are trying to do something special?
TB:I think they know that we are all trying to do something special. We haven't had the kind of season we would've liked going into our fifth year. There have been some ups and downs and I think we've realized you need to be extremely consistent in everything you do to accomplish your goals. It is challenging. Look at Miami last year - they were the division champs last year. We are not in that spot anymore, so we have to make the improvements to catch up to the other teams. We have an AFC team that won the Super Bowl, a team that we seem to play every year. When you don't make the playoffs you're looking up at a lot of teams. We've got to get back to winning some football games.
Q:How confident are you that you can be the same player that you were before the injury?
TB:We'll see. Like I said, talk is cheap. I could sit here and tell you guys that I'm going to play until I'm 80, but that doesn't matter. I'm going to do the best that I can do and I'm going to try to be the best leader and the best teammate and supporter of the guys on my team - it's something I've always enjoyed doing. Like I said, I'm grateful to have that chance and to be out here today. I can't wait to get out and start playing games.
Q:For veteran guys the first time they have an injury it's a shock. Did you go through that?
TB:I think you wake up the next day and think was that a dream? Because that's not really how I thought it was going to go. I had never been injured and then that passes with me pretty quick though. I don't dwell on it. I just kind of go, well that sucks. Okay, now what do we have to do? Right after, you're hurting a little bit but then you are focusing on the things that you have to do to get better. I think it went pretty fast in a lot of ways - the rehab process and getting back here. It goes fast because there is something else to focus on and you're always trying to make improvements just like we do on the practice field. In a different way, when you're not practicing you're trying to make improvements so you can get back out here with this goal in mind. It's challenging because you're not playing. It's challenging because you can't help your teammates in the role that you've always helped them in, but I am obviously supportive of them. I'm hoping that I can be back out there leading them once again.
Q:Was it difficult to watch the games?
TB:Watching the games wasn't a problem - I loved that. It's the end of the game that's the problem, because when you win you're like, I wasn't a part of any of that [and] they're all celebrating in the locker room and I'm laying on my bed. And when you lose, you are bummed because the team lost. It's probably the emotion of a normal game. For the players there is always emotion after the game. During the game you are rooting and cheering for the guys and hoping that everyone is doing well and everyone is safe, but once the game ends you try to go to bed early.