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Wednesday Patriots Notebook 5/9: End Scares Brady ‘Big Time’; Harmon, McCourty Change Jerseys

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5 years ago at 6:52 am ET

Wednesday Patriots Notebook 5/9: End Scares Brady ‘Big Time’; Harmon, McCourty Change JerseysJames Lang - USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.

Lombardi Feels Brady’s No Longer Willing to Take a Hometown Discount – Despite being the best player in the game, Tom Brady has never been one to seek the biggest payday. 

That’s been his mindset going all the way back to when he first emerged as a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and he’s remained consistent. Rather than seek the largest contract, instead, he’s allowed the team to get creative while taking care of him with guaranteed money that’s been commensurate with his worth, even if his annual salary didn’t measure up.

Now as he heads into the final two years of his current deal, which expires after the 2019 season and is now well below the current market, Lombardi believes that any future deal to give him a raise may see Brady looking to get paid something more in line with his peers.

“What I think is going on in New England, and this is just my own instinct, I think when you win five Super Bowls and you’ve had as much success as they’ve had and they have all swallowed the ‘we’re not making all this money’ routine, ‘we’re not taking all the coin.’ They have done that and I think now is the time where they are all saying to themselves, ‘it’s money time,’” Lombardi said via WEEI. “Brady, for all what he is saying about how unhappy he is, and the same thing with Gronk, I think it comes down to contract and how couldn’t it?”

“How could you look there and see Matt Ryan and what he’s making and you have five rings. How could you see what Kirk Cousins just got and it not affect you? It’s just human nature, right? You can’t fault Brady for that. You can’t.”


Brady went on to become the best QB in NFL history. (USA TODAY Images)

It’s interesting to go back and look at Brady’s stance over the years on this topic, including back in 2005 when he appeared on 60-Minutes after winning three championships in four years and talking about his contract.  Brady at that time talked about the fact he didn’t care about being the highest-paid player. He felt that the more money he made, the more it took away from allowing the team to surround him with talent.

“Yeah. I mean that’s always a factor,” Brady said at the time when asked about taking less to give his team flexibility to sign people.  “The way the NFL works, the more you take, the less money other guys have. And I decided, hey, this is what I think I deserve. And it’s very fair. And it is a business, and I make those decisions. It’s not like I’m, you know, non-profit here. I’m not working for free, and I’m getting paid a lot of money. Other people need to get paid a lot of money too, because a lot of other people contribute. But it’s not like the grass is greener anywhere else. I mean, I’m a part of three championships here. And I’ve got a great relationship with the coach, the ownership and the players.”

Brady went on to say that the he loved the fans and couldn’t imagine playing anywhere else.

“And the fans, and the city,” he continued.  “And it’s like why leave here? Why would that make sense? That would be the dumbest — it’s such a stupid decision if I ever decide something else. And if people ask those questions, I don’t think they’re very smart either. ‘Cause if they were to evaluate it the way I did, it’d be an easy decision.”

That was obviously a long time ago and times have unfortunately, changed a bit. With things being as tense as they’ve been over the past year, it’s definitely a different environment than it was back then and he’s had a full career of perspective that could have him thinking about making the most financially of his final seasons. But whether or not it will really affect him the way Lombardi might think is a different story.


Brady said back in 2005 that the thought of the end of his career scared him. (USA TODAY Images)

Brady Once Said The Thought of the End of His Career Scared him “Big TIme” – One interesting note out of that same interview was the fact that when asked if there was something that really scared him or intimidated him, Brady said it was the idea of the end of his playing career.

At the time, he felt that walking away would be hard because football was all he knew and that when it was over, he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to handle not experiencing what being part of the NFL brought with it.

“The end of my playing career. Big time,” said Brady.  “Because I guess I’ve done this for so long. And I know what I feel like in the off-season. That I’m always trying to figure out ways to have a day that’s filled with things I like to do. And when I’m playing football during those seven months out of the year, it’s easy. I mean I get up and come in here. Not that it’s easy to work hard, not that it’s easy to show up every day and do the job, but you’re focused. You know? You got a goal. You got something you’re trying to accomplish.”

“And when that’s done, you don’t have 80,000 people screaming your name. You know, what’s it gonna be? I’ve heard a lot about astronauts who go to the moon and come back, and they’re so depressed because there’s nothing they can do in their lives that ever can fill ’em the way that that does.”

It’s interesting given where he is right now and it’s scary for fans to think the days of seeing him on the field are slowly coming to an end.  Hopefully, he can ease the pain for both himself and the fans cheering for him with another Championship run.


Harmon will be wearing a different number next season. (USA TODAY Images)

McCourty, Harmon reach an agreement on jersey numbers – Duron Harmon has been known for some late-game heroics and it looks like he’ll be wearing a familiar number next season.

Newcomer Jason McCourty told reporters on Tuesday that he and Harmon reached an agreement to swap jerseys, allowing McCourty to wear #30 (Harmon’s number).  McCourty said that making the deal with the veteran safety wasn’t a tough sell.

“He actually was on the verge of wanting to switch numbers, as well,” McCourty said Tuesday via the Boston Globe. “So, just in our Rutgers way, we were able to work it all out and everybody walks away happy.”

As for Harmon, he’s switching to #21, which was Malcolm Butler’s number.  Butler is now in Tennessee having left via free agency this offseason.

Digging deeper, there is some interesting history with this after hearing about their decisions to swap numbers. Harmon’s college number during his days at Rutgers was #32, which is worn by teammate Devin McCourty.  Ironically enough, Devin wore #21 in college.  As for Jason, he wore #25 when he and his brother were teammates in college, which is currently worn by Eric Rowe.


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