Q: How will you stay sharp during your four-game suspension?
TB: We'll see.
Q: Do you plan on staying local?
TB: We'll see.
Q: Do you plan on revealing your plans at all?
TB: No, I don't. In case someone else is in this situation in the future, I don't want to give away all my tips.
Q: Have you thought about what your emotions will be like having to just sit out and watch?
TB: Well I'm pretty positive. I'm going to use these days the best way that I possibly can. I'm going to try to get ready and do everything that I possibly can so I can be at my best when I have the opportunity to play in October. I've tried to just find different ways to be positive, but it is what it is at this point, so we'll do the best we can do.
Q: The league confirmed you will have access to Alex Guerrero during the suspension; how important will it be for you to be able to work out with him?
TB: Well that was nice of them.
Q: Will Alex Guerrero's knowledge of you and ability to push you be critical for you to be able to stay fresh during this time?
TB: Yeah, we've been working together for over 12 years now. He's one of my best friends, so we'll do what we always do. We'll use all these days in the best way that's possible to stay prepared and stay sharp. I have ideas of what I need to do based on all the practices that we've had and the limited playing time that I've had. My goal is to come back and be the best that I can be, just like every other year, every other offseason. I'm going to do the best that I can do over these next, however many days, 30 days or so, to do the same thing. I've still got a good day of practice. I've tried to look at all these days of practices as ways to get better – having access to the field and throwing to my receivers. I try to use those days the best that I possibly can, just like I always would. I've got another, hopefully, another opportunity to play on Thursday night and then be with the team Friday, and then try to do the best I can over the next month to stay sharp.
Q: Do you think you need to play on Thursday?
TB: It's always up to Coach [Bill] Belichick, but I mean I love playing. I love playing in practice, I love playing preseason games, regular-season games, postseason games, I love thinking about football. It's just the way it is. That part, I think will be very challenging watching those games in September, but I'll find ways to preoccupy my mind.
Q: You've always been the emotional leader who keeps the guys up. Do you think that level will drop when you're gone?
TB: We've got a lot of great leaders on this team. The veterans, I think we've got like - we've got a lot of really good players, a lot of really good leaders. I think we've always done a good job cultivating guys to step in and fill the void. I think we'll do a great job with that. Between our coaches and our players, we've got a lot of great leaders, so I'm very confident in that. We'll go out and play with a lot of energy and emotion that we always do. It will be tough to watch but it will be fun to watch in some ways to see what it looks like when you're not there. That's a different perspective. Hopefully I can use that perspective and then come back with better perspective saying, 'Wow, I really noticed some things that maybe I wouldn't have seen had I been there.' So that's kind of what I'm going to try to do.
Q: Did you do a lot of that in 2008 when you were in a similar position having to sit back and watch games? How much will you drawn upon 2008 during the first four weeks of the season?
TB: That was tough because I was going through so much at that time physically. There's no way I could have really, after the surgery, dealing with what I was dealing with, it was hard to think about a lot of other things because it was so intense with just what I was going through. I think it will be a little different.
Q: How did you approach developing a leadership presence in 2000/2001 knowing there was an established veteran leader in the picture as well?
TB: That was a long time ago, but in college you have maybe a little bit of that. That was probably right out of college where there are a lot of guys close to your age that you're competing with, but you're still real good friends with. Some of my best friends were Scot Loeffler, who is the offensive coordinator at BC [Boston College] now, and Brian Griese who has been a good friend of mine, and Jason Kapsner who was one of my buddies, Scott Dreisbach and Drew Henson. We were all friends. We played ping pong and we played pool together, but there was a healthy competition on the field too. We all wanted to play, but at quarterback, one guy gets to play. Then you get fresh out of college, and then I was probably – with Drew [Bledsoe], I was the same way. I used to hang out with Drew all the time. We played golf together; I'd be at his house for dinner.
Q: Is it still hard in those situations to maintain that relationship but also mark your territory?
TB: Well, I think you're learning a lot from those guys, too. At least I was. I was trying to learn a lot from Drew [Bledsoe], and I learned a lot from Drew because he was such a phenomenal player and leader. He was tough, disciplined. It meant so much to him. I think I learned a lot from him, I learned a lot from Damon [Huard], I learned a lot form John Friesz when I was first here. I think I used all those people as great examples because they were already pros. I had a lot to learn. I just came in, tried to do the best I could do with the experiences that I already had and then tried to transition those to a different level, a different caliber of playing, and just do the best I could do. It's easy to do when you love what you do. I've always been blessed to love this sport and love the preparation of this sport as much as I have. It really never feels like work because it's always a learning experience. I'm still learning every day that I go out there. It's always fresh when you start because there are always new players, always new schemes, always new plays, new situations to go over. That's why there's such a great – that's why people love the sport. That's why I love the sport, because it's so challenging. It's very humbling, too, because it's incredibly difficult to perform at a high level every day. You've got to push yourself and find different ways to motivate yourself over the course of long periods of time. It's easy if you just changed what you did every year. Everything would feel fresh all the time. But when you've been doing it for 17 years professionally, and then nine years, I've been doing it for 25 years, so I've got to keep finding ways to retool and learn and use things as motivation.
Q: Would you say the dynamic is similar between you and Jimmy Garoppolo as it was between you and Drew Bledsoe?
TB: I mean, I have no idea. We're totally on different ends of the spectrum. I love being with Jimmy. I've enjoyed every day that we've spent with him. I wish him the very best, obviously, for our team, for him personally. When you see people that it means a lot to, you always want them to succeed as well. It'll be tough to watch, but I'll be excited to watch and excited to learn, and then hopefully, when I come back in October, I'll be a better player than I am today.