PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
Q: How does it feel to be back in the fold with a new contract and some more long-term security here with the organization?
TB: Yeah, like I said the last time, we've just had a great history. I love playing quarterback here. I love this team, this organization, Mr. [Robert] Kraft, Jonathan [Kraft], Coach [Bill] Belichick, all of the coaches, all of the players. The focus is this year and what we've got to do. That's where I'm focused. That's all that really matters in the end. That's what this team expects of me, to put everything into it, like I always have and I'm really excited for the year. This was good competition today. We needed it to see where we're at. We'll try to make quite a few corrections and go out there tomorrow and see if we can do better.
Q: Given that you may not play much in the actual game this Thursday, how useful is it to get some controlled reps in these practices here against a new opponent?
TB: Yeah, I like it. It's a different level of competition. Obviously, between the OTAs and the mini-camp and training camp, there's quite a bit of practice against our own guys. We really know our players, what we do schematically, the looks that we present and it's nice to get some real fresh competition and see where you match up against a team that really beat us up pretty good last year. It's good competition for us. We need it and it's just another step in the process with the preparation that we need to get ready for when the season starts.
Q: There seems to be some uncertainty contractually at least beyond this year. How do you feel about that?
TB: I mean, it's really the reality for most guys in the NFL. I don't want to think I'm any different than anyone else. Football is a tough business. It's a production business. I'm ready to go this year and that's really what matters. That's where my focus is. It's a unique situation I'm in. I'm in my 20th year with the same team. I'm 42 years old, so pretty much uncharted territory I think for everybody. I'm going to go out there and do the best I can this year and see what happens.
Q: Would you prefer to have a little more certainty?
TB: I'm really not worried about it. I'm secure for this year, I think. At least I get a few first team reps out there. I just go out there and try to do the best I can.
Q: The team struggled on the road last year with a 3-5 record. How much does this opportunity help you develop those routines that you practice when you're on the road?
TB: Yeah, they're good. They're important. Coach [Bill Belichick] reminded us of that this morning – we were 3-5 last year. I wanted to remind him we were 5-5. We won two important ones at the end, but I understand 3-5 for his argument's sake works. But yeah, we have to be better this year. You've got to get into a routine. You come here and it's a lot of things that are unfamiliar and you try to really focus on football, and our plays, and our techniques and our fundamentals. And then once you're lining up, you're playing football.
Q: How important is it get these valuable reps, especially down on the goal line, with some young guys like Jakobi Meyers?
TB: Yeah, football is a lot of different situations from play to play. Everything requires a little different look and the more experience you have playing in the NFL, I think you can rely on that experience if you use it well. You look at a guy like Julian [Edelman] and myself, we've played together. We've run so many plays. We have so much built up, but we've still got to go do it. I think that's what you get out here and practice for. That's what all of these reps are for, to try and work through it in tough game conditions against good competition and to see who's really consistent, dependable, see who you can count on.
Q: What have you seen out of Jakobi specifically?
TB: He's done a great job and he's taken advantage of his opportunities. I think that's really what we try to stress to anybody. It really doesn't matter – the football doesn't care how old you are, whether you were drafted or not. The football doesn't care how much experience you have. It just knows that when I let that ball go, it's got to be in the hands of the guy who it's intended for. If that happens to be him, it's him. If it's Julian, it's Julian. Whoever it is, it doesn't matter in football.
Q: Do you like having these joint practices as a measuring stick for where you guys are?
TB: I love playing football, so I don't care who I'm out here with. I just love playing. Another team, our team, my kids, my sisters – I don't care.
Q: Are you as competitive against your kids or your sisters?
TB: This is a little more competitive for me than my family members, but there's a good level of competition out there that we need. It's a game of competition and execution.
Q: Was there a part of you that wanted the contract situation put to bed and a sense of relief now?
TB: It is what it is. That's a good line. Whoever said it, it's very pertinent. Like I said, there's a lot of guys who have one year left on their contract. I've got one year to go and we'll see what happens.
Q: Do you still want to play until age 45 and what's the key to being so ageless out there?
TB: You've got to take care of your body. I wrote a book on it, literally. I live by it and I think it's given me pretty good results. I try to pass it on to the next generation so they don't have to go on through the same mistakes that I did, but everyone learns different ways. Hopefully, I can be an inspiration. I got a great opportunity to prove to a lot of people that didn't think I could do it. Hopefully, I can. Well done is better than well said.
Q: How do you feel about your Michigan Wolverines this upcoming season?
TB: Go Blue, baby. We've got to win. We've got to beat the Buckeyes. That's really important.
Q: What was the tour at the Pro Football Hall of Fame like?
TB: It was amazing. A great experience, great to see everyone. It was very cool.