FOXBORO, MA — With the AFC East title on the line on Sunday along with a playoff appearance looming on the horizon, there is little that can get in the way of the Patriots preparation.
For anyone still beating the familiar dead horse known as the quarterback controversy, let it go.
Quarterback Drew Bledsoe has remained the classic professional he has been since being drafted by New England in 1993. Now in his 9th season and with his team heading back to the postseason, he’s got to be hurting inside knowing that he’ll make his 5th playoff appearance of his career, yet this time it will be on the sidelines.
But not a word has been uttered. Not one thing has been said that could take away from the success the team that used to be his is having. For those who just tuned into the team this season they’ll say it’s what he is supposed to do. For anyone who has watched him from 1993 until now they understand that it’s because it is simply what he does. He’s always done what he’s needed to do to try and help his team win, and it’s what he’s doing now.
Despite Bill Belichick’s decision to stick with Tom Brady following the devastating injury that Bledsoe suffered in their week two match-up against the New York Jets, his approach each week hasn’t changed. Although he was angry that he wasn’t given a chance to return to the starting line-up, he’s remained the true professional that everyone who has watched him as a rookie until now expect him to be.
Regardless of what people think about his relationship with Belichick, it will never effect his approach both on and off the field, and his coach knows that if needed Bledsoe will always be ready.
“Well first of all I don’t really agree [that there’s a problem with] our relationship,” said Belichick on Thursday. “But I think Drew has prepared himself very professionally week in and week out. We have full confidence in him that [if needed] he would go in there and do a great job and we have the same confidence in Damon [Huard] and Tom [Brady].”
“I think he has gone about it very professionally. I think he’s continued to be well respected by everyone on the team, players and coaches. We have confidence in him if he’s called upon to play.”
The move to take Bledsoe out of the line-up could had devastating results that could have split the team and wreaked havoc in the locker room. From the time it began Bledsoe said himself that it’s something that he “wouldn’t let happen”, and he’s been true to his word. His team has stuck together and now they find themselves in the last place that anyone expected to find them, and that’s sitting at 10-5 with a shot at the division and a first round bye in the playoffs. Not bad for a team that no one expected much out of.
Where they go will depend on how far quarterback Tom Brady can take them, but despite how things go Bledsoe will be by Brady’s side regardless of how it all turns out. During a career that has seen him have only three losing seasons, he’s already been through both the good and the bad, and still he remains the constant professional.
“Drew’s never been anything but a hard worker and a well prepared player and a good leader and that is how I knew him when I was here and that is the way he has still been,” said Belichick. “I couldn’t say anything but positives about the way he has gone about his job and his contributions both on and off the field to this organization for quite a number of years.”
When the season is over it will all work itself out. But for anyone who still wonders if a controversy exists, it exists only in the minds of those who won’t let it go. There will be nothing to divide the Patriots locker room. Bledsoe wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s what he does, and it’s who he is. He’s a professional, and he always will be.