Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is Tom Brady's knee the only problem?


It was just a few minutes ago that I saw the photos of Tom Brady in Mexico. With Gisele Bundchen. If you've seen them, you know the one's I'm talking about.

The ones where he's being fed by his girl, and where the two of them are snuggling in the ocean. There may be more, but thankfully, I haven't seen them.

A lot of emotions hit me when seeing those photos (none of them synonymous with "happy" or "excited"), but with a deep breath, I stifled them down, and...

*sigh* Okay.

The problem is obvious: While Patriots fans hope, plead, beg for Brady to be healthy by the beginning of next season, the only glimpses of Tom that we see have nothing to do with football. He barely even talks about football.

At points this offseason, there's been a better chance of seeing a ring on his finger than a football in his hand. And these pictures did nothing to ease the anxiety.

Sure, Brady's love life is none of our business. If he wants to spend every waking moment of the next few months all over the world, in any town but Foxboro, Massachusetts, that's his deal. After all, who can blame him?

Well, as fans, we make it our business to blame him. It's our responsibility to hope he hangs out less with a supermodel and more with guys like Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Matt Light.
But here's the truth, that Patriots fans both hate and fall back on: Tom Brady has earned the right to keep it his business.

This isn't Tony Romo. Tom Brady didn't throw a few touchdown passes, win a few games, and decide he was the biggest star in the league. He doesn't have people wondering if he can handle the big game.

And he has shown that whatever the distraction, he can deal with it.

He had an open relationship with Bridget Moynahan while leading New England to Super Bowl XXXIX. When his son was born during training camp for the 2007 season, he responded by throwing for 50 touchdowns. The fact that the Patriots didn't win a fourth Super Bowl is by no means Tom Brady's fault.

And even as we Patriots fans shield our eyes from Tom Terrific looking like a soft lover-boy in Mexico, we can't forget that only one day earlier, a story broke about how Brady is dropping back, throwing, running and preparing for 2009.

Does that sound like a player whose interests are elsewhere?

The point is, Tom Brady is focused on football. He's focused on leading the New England Patriots. And after missing 2008 and hearing his days numbered by the media, he's likely more focused.

It's just that, when he goes to Mexico, he doesn't show it. He doesn't have to.

So I see the photos, I feel my frustration rise, and I get on with my life knowing that Tom Brady will be one of the NFL's best players next year as quarterback of the New England Patriots.

Just like he always has.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Brady breaks silence on Toronto radio

Tom Brady lives!

Don't believe me? Just ask Toronto's Fan 590 - the station that, on Wednesday, held the first interview with Tom Brady since news of his knee infection got out to the public seemingly years and years ago.

As wild a ride as the 2008 season was for the Patriots, Brady's offseason and recovery from his season-ending injury was just as volatile. First he was out, then he was fine, then he was infected, then he was fine again, then he was behind schedule, and then he was gone. News about Brady disappeared, and with the exception of a Thanksgiving appearance serving pumpkin pie and engagement rumors with Gisele Bundchen, No. 12 did too.

Until now.

Brady didn't say much (injuries happen, you recover for them, I'm looking forward to more rehab, etc.), but the fact that he was in the studio should come as a relief to Patriots fans. Injuries are always a mystery with Belichick and Co., but it's another thing when the injured player (let alone one of Brady's importance) is neither seen nor heard from.

By appearing on the radio, and shedding some, any light on his injury, Brady at least reminds New Englanders that his mind is on football, and returning as the leader of the offense.

Matt Cassel did an admirable, Pro Bowl-worthy job stepping into Tom's NFL MVP shoes, but unless he physically can't make it onto the field, this is still Brady's team.

It's nice to have him back - even for a few fleeting moments on the airwaves.