Tom Brady took questions after Friday morning's practice and discussed moving on from last year's knee injury, his outlook on playing in preseason games this year and on training camp challenges. Hear Brady's entire interview session right here.
Q: How are you feeling?
TB:I'm feeling like it's about the sixth day of training camp, so it's been fun to be out here. We've got a lot of work to do, so it's obviously fun to participate and be a part of all the activities and I'm as excited as anybody.
Q: What's been going through your mind the last day or so as you get back to playing football?
TB:It's just a lot, I think, of excitement. It's a new year, there're new challenges for us and there're some great opportunities. We have a veteran team, and I think as a quarterback, training camp is a little bit different for us than for everybody else; we're not hitting or a part of the tackling drill or any of that, so it's about the only time I can yell at guys a lot bigger than me and not get my ass kicked.
Q: Are you looking at the knee at all or thinking about it at all?
TB:I'm not. I've kind of made a concerted effort to move on. That was last season and this is this season. I don't think about it. I think it's been a great learning experience for me and I'm using it, really, as a positive. Hopefully I can go out this year and be a great quarterback for this team.
Q: Still, you must be looking forward to the games and testing where you are mentally and physically.
TB:Yeah. The games are fun, especially for the players because camp is challenging because it's just nonstop. Coach said yesterday, 'don't look for any light at the end of the tunnel because it's dark.' We can tell it is, so when the games come, we'll know we've put in a lot of great practices and hopefully we're prepared for those games when they come. In the meantime, we've got a lot of work to do.
Q: Did anything good come from your injury?
TB:Yeah, I said in minicamp I think I've learned a lot of things that I wouldn't have learned had I been playing, things that help you grow as a person and as a player, as a leader, as a teammate. I'm going to take those lessons and hopefully be a better player for them. When you're sitting watching, it's not fun and you're not a part of it and you don't feel a part of it, even though you're a part of the team. I feel a part of it now.
Q: Is it kind of like riding a bike?
TB:Yeah. That's a lot [of it]. You come out, take the snap, you hand it off, you run through the drills. We're practicing and we have a lot of two-a-days, so he's going to make it a challenging camp for us and we need it. We need the work, we need the time that we can use every day. We've got quite a few new players and new things come up every day in practice that were going to need to learn from so that we can take those into the game and hopefully be very prepared when those come around.
Q: What is your comfort level on the field with your knee brace?
TB:You forget about it. It's the last thing I'm thinking about out here. I've got 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.
Q: Do you feel it's restricting you at all?
TB:Have I gone from slow to slower? That's possible, but that doesn't matter most.
Q: How much added pressure is there given that you didn't make the playoffs last year?
TB:That was a tough year for us last year. 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 earlier in the year, I think that's why coach really wants to get us off to a much better start than we did last year. [We went] 0-4 in the preseason and we didn't play particularly well in any phase of the game, and this year he wants to put a lot of emphasis on us getting out and being prepared, so that when those games come we can build on those games. It's a long camp, but it goes fast. I think I have learned that over the years. You blink your eye and you're ready for that first game. It feels long and in some ways your body gets fatigued, but it goes fast and every day that we're out here is valuable for us. We wouldn't do it if it wasn't important, so there are a lot of important practices left and we all have to bring excitement and energy and enthusiasm each day to practice.
Q: Do you think you'll play in the preseason?
TB:Yeah, I think I'll play. I think I'll play. I mean, last year it wasn't like I wasn't supposed to play. I would have loved to have played. Just 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've got to be out there leading in the preseason and in practices. I'm excited for those games because I think we can make improvements in those games.
Q: Does your arm feel normal or are you building up the strength as you go along?
TB:It feels pretty good and then you come out and do four or five practices in a row and it doesn't feel as hot, so it's part of what training camp is about. The soreness becomes a part of the practices and you just have to do a good job of taking care of yourself. My arm was in really good shape coming in. It still feels like its in good shape, so hopefully it stays that way. It's always something the quarterback…that's what's important for us. No one cares if my ankle is not good, it's my arm.
Q: Did being away deepen your appreciation?
TB:I think you certainly appreciate it no matter what. For us to be out here playing football. I mean, it's like we don't have a real job; we play football. It's fun to be out here. You're with your friends and teammates and playing a great game and we have so many great fans and support and the coverage, obviously, it is fun for us. It hasn't always been like this, so we're all very appreciative. And when you don't play for a long time, in a way you forget - not that you forget how fun it is when you're out here because sometimes you do focus on the things you don't enjoy so often, but like I said earlier, you would take all those things that aren't as fun to exchange those and be out here and be a part of the team.
Q: How anxious are you to get in the team and have people around your knee?
TB:Yeah I think that's just part of the process. We'll see when that comes up. There will be plenty of guys to test it. Out here in practice there're guys flying around. I'm going to get hit plenty this year, so I'm sure it will hold up and I'll be just fine.
Q: Was it difficult for you to stay away from the team last year? Did you want to be on the sidelines giving Matt Cassel advice?
TB:Well I was here all week and when the games came, you don't want to be a distraction; you don't want to get in the way of what the team is doing. We've got plenty of great coaches on this team that provide insight during the week, so coach just said 'I think it's probably best for you to just watch it and watch it at home and take care of yourself and focus on getting better'.
Q: Do you sense Bill Belichick is hungrier after what happened last season?
TB:Yeah. Bill's going soft on us. He doesn't yell at us like he used to. We're looking for him to get after us a little bit. I think he's…I don't know what happened. I think as he's getting older he's getting a little softer.
Q: What about double sessions for the first week?
TB:Yeah, I think he's pretty committed to that.
Q: Can you talk about the challenges you've faced personally this year coming off an injury and what you're expecting?
TB:It's challenging every year. You always think as a veteran player, 'man, I've been through this before. I've run the plays, I know the defenses,' but it's a very tough game and there's a lot that happens and a lot of decisions that you need to make in a quick amount of time out there. It's about getting out there and going through the processes and there's no shortcut. You just have to do it and you have to show up to practice. Like I said, you have to be focused and bring the energy. When you do that, things go pretty well. When you don't, they go bad. As a quarterback, you never want them to go bad. I think there are different challenges for all of us. For me, I think it's about not being the guy that holds this team back. I want to be the guy that's leading this team. We've got a lot of great players, and I want to be able to lead those guys.
Q: When do you start counting down to the first regular season game?
TB:Well, you always have that first regular season game in the back of your mind. That's kind of what you're hoping for, but there are a lot of other things in the meantime, we need to focus on those short-term goals. Coach talks about, 'let's have a good practice today, and tomorrow we'll worry about tomorrow.' That's a great way to handle things. The excitement of what's ahead helps motivate you, but at the same time, you can't look past this afternoon's practice because if you do, you're really going to put yourself in a disadvantageous for what the goal may be.
Q: Have you talked to other players who have come back from similar injuries?
TB:Not really. There are a lot of injured players out here, so we're all in the training room together [with] ice bags and commiserating when we're not out there, so you learn. I'm an athlete, so there have been injuries in my career - none that have kept me out of games, but in the offseason I've dealt with some things. You learn to deal with them.
Q: How would you rate where you are with Randy Moss right now, as far as being on the same page?
TB:It's easy to have great chemistry with Randy. He's the best receiver, probably, ever to play the game. You just have to throw it where he's running because he's usually open. We spent a lot of great time this offseason with Wes [Welker], and Joey [Galloway] was here a lot and Greg [Lewis] was here a lot. I feel like we got off to a really good start, but this is really when it all begins. Randy, when he's out here, is one of the hardest working guys we have and he's so fun to have on the team. He's a great teammate and we have a great relationship. There's been a lot of trust that's been built up over the last few years and I look forward to being back on the field with him.
Q: Are you confident you can step back in and have the kind of year you had two years ago?
TB:Yeah, I hope it finishes different if we are in that position [playing in the Super Bowl]. I hope we play well to start the year, I hope we play well in the middle of the year, and I hope we play well down the stretch and I think that starts with this foundation. It's easy to go and make a lot of playoff predictions and it happens every year. No one would have though the Miami Dolphins would have won the division last year after finishing 1-15 and they did. We're looking up at those guys and the Bills and the Jets are obviously a challenge with a new coach, so within our own division we've got plenty of challenges. We're going to have to overcome those and see what this team is all about.
Q: What's been more challenging: rehabbing your knee or married life?
TB:Oh man. They're not so hard. Both have been very good, very timely, and like I said, a lot of growing and I'm excited to be back out her doing my job. That's where I belong.
Q: Kevin Faulk was joking about the publicity surrounding your marriage yesterday. Is that the kind of camaraderie you miss?
TB:Yeah. This is really a great environment for us as players. When you leave the stadium, that's when things get a little hectic for you. When you're here, you're focused on your job and your teammates. Playing cards or having putting contests in the locker room and stuff like that is fun and when you're away from those friends of yours and the people you rely on for support, that's a tough thing to go through. We have great chemistry within our team and I think its really the environment that's been set here by some of the players we have now and some of the former players like Troy [Brown], David Patten and Deion [Branch] and guys that have just been really great guys. We're trying to carry on that tradition.
Q: You're busy saving lives when you're outside the team, right?
TB: Well, not quite. Not quite. We're just trying to make it through the next day sometimes, but things are great and everyone's excited.
Q: You seem like you're in a really good frame mind. Can you pinpoint why and do you think you're in a better frame of mind than some other training camps?
TB:Well, I think I try to be a very positive person and to lead by example and I don't want to…everyone deals with stuff on a daily basis; we all do. Everyone that standing here does and you try to put those things where they need to be and go to work and focus on your job and when you leave you deal with other parts of your life. I'm more content, I think, at this point in my life in learning how to deal with those situations and a lot of things that have happened in my life, you learn from and like I said, you use those as challenges. My boss always says, 'every bump is a bounce' and it's a very true statement. This team, when you lose games, you learn from them. In life, when things don't go the way you planned them, you learn from them, whether it's an injury or anything else.
Q: Who's your boss?
TB:LRC. Lower right have corner of the paycheck.
Q: Speaking of bumps, are you going to retract your earlier denial of another baby on the way?
TB:Well, I heard Big Papi say, 'I don't have all the information, but I'll check back', and you guys will be the first to know. I never hold anything back from you guys.
Q: How much do you feel for David Ortiz and the day that he had yesterday?
TB:From the opportunities that I've had to be around him, he's a wonderful person and all the guys on the Red Sox are great guys and we have a great sports community here. I used to go to those Red Sox games in my first couple years here and sit there on the third base line and loved cheering for them. It sucks for those guys and it sucks for the sport. In football, we've been kind of immune to it, but no one likes to see that, especially guys that are in your town and you root for and you like the company, but they'll put it behind them and get through it and move forward as we all do.