Daily Patriots Notebook 3/13: Brady Starting to Ponder His Future?

Ian Logue
March 13, 2018 at 9:46 am ET

Today’s edition certainly sparks some discussion, so let’s get to it.

Brady Starting to Ponder His Future? – The last couple of years for Tom Brady have been a little different than pretty much every year prior, especially as it pertains to his image and business interests off the field.

It almost feels like DeflateGate was really a wake-up call for the veteran quarterback, who seemed like he completely changed his approach when much of the world outside of New England turned on him.

Prior to that, Brady didn’t say much, seemingly satisfied with letting his actions on the field speak for him.  When DeflateGate started, Brady more or less brushed it off as absurd since he obviously knew what really happened and probably didn’t ever expect things to take on a life of their own.  But when things began to spiral, his approach changed. You could sense the frustration, yet he seemed more intent on taking the high road and managed to maintain that despite the fact the whole mess dragged on for well over a year and spilled over into two football seasons.

During that span, Brady only talked to the media when absolutely necessary and spoke to just a select a few outside that general circle for any additional commitments.  He admitted at the start of the 2015 season that would be an approach, obviously frustrated with all the false accusations and things being said that he couldn’t control.  Instead, he opted to focus on the game and keep the outside stuff to a minimum.

“I think that’s a pretty natural feeling to have,” Brady said via the Boston Herald back at the beginning of September 2015. “I don’t know exactly how I’ll approach those things each week. A lot of it for me especially this offseason is to try and conserve my energy as best that I possibly can because you deal with things that are pretty mentally tiring. I wouldn’t say physically tiring, but you’re still trying to get ready for a football season. There are a lot of workouts and so forth and you get off the field and you’re dealing with other things and on top of that you have your normal life, which those things are challenging within themselves so I’ll need to converse some energy this year no doubt.

“It’s a long season anyway, but the more things that I do — non-Patriot related really to help other people out — you’re right, those things take away from the energy that I may have to do other things. I’ve always tried to fulfill different obligations for people and different times it’s hard to fulfill all of them. I get a lot of requests. Things that may be public or private and then I just try and make those decisions based on how the week is, but it’s hard to fulfill them all. We’ll see how that goes this year.”

That translated into Brady starting to focus more on himself and his brand, more so than during any other time of his career.  TB12 gained more publicity, he wrote a book outlining his passion for nutrition and the methods he uses to take care of his body, and made the surprising decision to air his own “Tom vs Time” documentary.  The project was produced privately, giving him the chance to tell his own story.  It gave him the opportunity to open up his life on his own terms, allowing people an inside look at who he really is as a husband and a father, while giving them a real glimpse of what he goes through and how hard he really works.

The fact he decided to do it is probably the thing that’s the most surprising for someone so private.  But it made sense because it hopefully showed some of the naysayers that there are reasons far beyond of the ridiculous and untrue implications of why he’s so great.

As it moved along, it seemed like it was headed toward a storybook ending.  The team had plenty of momentum heading into their match-up against the Eagles and looked like a group with enough talent to get it done.  But following the loss, it seemed like the end of the project was put on hold, with Brady and the people behind the scenes seemingly trying to figure out how they wanted to write the final chapter.

However, following its recent release, Brady’s final words were somewhat concerning.  Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston, who like it or not, has connections within the Brady circle and has been telling people for a while now that things may have been a little more serious in Foxboro this season than many might have thought, pointed out something Brady said that may provide some insight into where he’s at mentally.

Following the loss, the documentary cuts to Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, who insinuates that there may be some frustration in terms of what he’s dealt with and how he feels coming to work each day.

“These last two years have been very challenging for him in so many ways,” she said via NBC Sports Boston. “And he tells me, ‘I love it so much and I just want to go to work and feel appreciated and have fun.’ ”

Her words say one thing, but the final scene where Brady revealed his own thoughts spoke volumes.

“It’s a big commitment, laying here three days after the game and getting my Achilles worked on and my thumb,” Brady said. “You go, ‘What are we doing this for?’ You know? ‘What are we doing this for, who are we doing this for, why are we doing this?’ You gotta have answers to those questions. And they have to be with a lot of conviction. You know, when you lose your conviction then you probably should be doing something else.”

He’s always been someone who has been pretty clear in terms of his love of the game and his commitment to playing for as long as he can.  Hearing him waver from that is the first real hard reminder that the end could be coming sooner than some may have hoped.

Either way, one thing that’s starting to become obvious is that as much as we might not want to admit it, an incredible career that seemingly had 4-5 years left suddenly seems a little shorter.  Hopefully for Brady’s sake, he can put together one more championship run that ends his way before it’s over.

First Image of Brady’s Hand Shown – There were quite a few whispers surrounding Brady’s thumb injury leading up to the Super Bowl and while it sounded a little exagerated, the image of the actual injury only makes what he did against the Jaguars and Eagles that much more impressive.

NESN.com’s Zach Cox posted the photo on Twitter, revealing the severe, deep gash below Brady’s thumb that he suffered in the incident between he and Rex Burkhead where his hand reportedly got caught on Burkhead’s helmet, leading to the injury before the AFC Championship Game.

Bill Belichick downplayed the injury after their win over Jacksonville, saying, “He’s a tough guy, we all know that. But we’re not talking about open heart surgery here.”

That may be true, but being able to throw the ball accurately with that type of injury is still impressive.

Against Philadelphia, Brady put up over 505-yards and 3 touchdowns, playing well enough where punter Ryan Allen never saw the field as the Eagles had their way against New England’s defense.  The difference in the game ultimately ended up being a fumble he committed toward the end of the game where he was blindsided and stripped that led to an Eagles field goal, putting any shot at a comeback out of reach.

The photo certainly adds context and while it’s not “open heart surgery”, it’s still a testament to his incredible skill and toughness as a player.

Brady Out-Chugs Colbert in Beer Drinking Contest – In Brady’s younger years, Brady was well-known for his ability to pound down a beer and on Monday night, the normally health-conscious quarterback showed off those skills against Colbert, and as usual, came away a winner.

Brian Hoyer told a story of Brady’s prowess from a time they were stranded in Buffalo due to a snowstorm where Brady impressed everyone that night.

“We played up at Buffalo and we couldn’t fly back into Boston because the weather was so bad, so we had to stay the night in Rochester,” said Hoyer.  “We drove there, and we all decided we’d go out to dinner together. Tom being who he was, he usually couldn’t come to a team event like that. We might be at Capital Grille and he is sneaking in the back door and then people realize he’s there and he has to leave. But this was impromptu at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Rochester. The whole team is there. And it turns into a beer-chugging contest.

“You have linemen, Julian Edelman, they all think they are going to win. Then someone says, ‘I heard Tom is really great at chugging a beer.’ We don’t usually get to experience him like this, but we finally coax him into doing it. He does it, and let me tell you, you couldn’t have poured out the beer faster into a glass. It was unbelievable.

And he slams the mug on the table and puts both fists in the air. He walks away with a look on his face that said, ‘You really thought you were going to beat me on this?’ The place went nuts.”

Some seem to forget that he wasn’t always who he is now.  He was once just a college kid at Michigan and a sixth-round pick that no one ever expected to become the best quarterback of all time.  Even when he was just starting out here in New England, one of the things that came out from players in the early going was how much more relateable Brady was among the players, which was in stark contrast to then-quarterback Drew Bledsoe.  Brady was simply one of the guys, and that played a big factor in the chemistry he was able to establish so quickly when he took over as a starter, with everyone rallying behind him on the way to the team’s first championship.

He said he still likes to have fun and it was cool to see him willing to show that side after Colbert obviously knew about that story.  And like his play on the gridiron, Brady certainly doesn’t appear to have lost a step there either.  Too funny.

Gronk Spotted Working Out – While Rob Gronkowski may be pondering his future, it appears that he’s still maintaining the same approach this offseason, which is encouraging.

The NFL Netowrk’s Ian Rapoport reported on Monday that the tight end has spent his time getting some work in at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center, which he believes is a good sign.

Rapoport, who does still hold connections within the Gronkowski camp from his time here in New England with the Boston Herald, is one of the few to report that Gronkowski is expected to return next season.  While Gronk may have somewhat refuted that report with a “#clueless” Tweet, the news is definitely encouraging for those hoping to see him back for another year.

It’s a long offseason and anything can happen.  Hopefully this continues and #87 will be back in 2018.

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