How come that number never goes down?

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    How come that number never goes down?


    Brady shows no signs of slowing down in New England

    Story Highlights

    Brady says he's going to play 'until they tell me they don't want me anymore'

    The inspiring story of an undrafted defender who's trying to catch on in NFL

    Has concussion crisis peaked; Ten Things I Think I Think and more

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    Tom Brady
    Tom Brady has thrown 300 touchdown passes in his 12 seasons with the Patriots.
    Al Tielemans

    Different column this week, stretching from Foxboro (Tom Brady) to San Diego out West (Dan Fouts), from an unhappy Dolfan in the Southeast (Daniel Tosh) to Russell Wilson in the Land of Opportunity in the Northwest (Seattle), from a hotel in Oakland to a bar in D.C., from a hockey rink in New York to the busiest building in North America (Staples Center in Los Angeles) ... well, let's just get on with it.


    Last of the (New England) Mohicans, and he's not planning to leave anytime soon.

    Matt Light retired the other day. Peyton Manning plays for Denver now. This means that Tom Brady is the lone member of an exclusive club.

    Sept. 30, 2001. Ninety players dressed for the first start of Brady's career, against the Indianapolis Colts, at the rickety old Foxboro Stadium on a cloudy and windy Sunday afternoon. Eighty-nine played. And Tom Brady, 34, is the only man who suited up that day who not only still plays for the Patriots, but also still plays for either team. (Notes for you sticklers: Reggie Wayne was inactive that day, and he still plays for the Colts. Kevin Faulk had 11 touches that day, but he's an unrestricted free agent and doesn't play -- yet -- for the Patriots this year.)

    Look at the turnover. One player out of 89 remaining, less than 11 years after the first start of Brady's career. It's Brady and Bill Belichick against the world now.

    "Well,'' Brady said Thursday afternoon, trying to figure out what it meant but not sounding at all surprised about it, "Matt called me a while ago and told me what he was planning to do, and I've called him every week since then trying to talk him out of it. He had such a great year for us. But there was no way I was going to be able to talk him out of it. He'll be a tough player to replace. But, you know, every year in this game, there's a lot of change.''

    Except with one guy. One guy living a bicoastal life, married to one of the most famous women in the world, with two kids, and with a coach who's not very concerned with all of that stuff.

    Who can know now, but it's going to be interesting to see if Brady outlasts Belichick. Because Belichick has been coaching in the NFL since Carlton Fisk willed the 12th-inning home run fair in the '75 World Series -- actually, he's been coach a few months longer than that -- and, amazing as it seems, Belichick is three years shy of 40 seasons as an NFL head coach or assistant. Not to get sidetracked, but this will be Belichick's 38th year as an NFL coach. Don Shula coached for 36.

    Now, Belichick announced his new coaching staff last week, and it includes his son Steve as a coaching assistant. So Belichick, who just turned 60, will likely be around for a while to show the kid the ropes. But you get the impression talking to Brady that he'd like to be around longer than a while.

    "My wife [Gisele Bundchen] said to me, 'When I met you [in 2006], you said you wanted to play 10 more years. How come that number never goes down?' It's that I love the game. I love the game. I'm going to play until they tell me they don't want me anymore.''

    Coming off a season with 13 wins, a career-best 5,235 passing yards and 39 touchdown passes (second-best in his career), he won't be evicted from the lineup soon.

    "I just met with coach Belichick this morning,'' Brady said. "I still feel like I'm in my first year trying to prove myself. There's no entitlement around coach Belichick. I've got to be the best guy for him to keep playing me. When I'm not, someone else will play.''

    I've wanted to ask Brady about one play in the Super Bowl since the game was played. Early in the fourth quarter, with New England up 17-15, Brady escaped traffic in the pocket, faded right, and threw the ball 54 yards in the air, aiming for tight end Rob Gronkowski. The ball was underthrown by four to six yards, and New York linebacker Chase Blackburn intercepted it.

    "Has anything happened to your arm, or your arm strength, that prevented you from throwing that ball where you wanted it?'' I asked.

    "No,'' he said. "It was a bad throw. Bad throw. You hope your bad throws don't come at big times or really hurt the team, but that one did. Bad throw, bad decision.''

    I don't think it was a bad decision at all. I thought it was a good decision and a good matchup -- the athletic Gronkowski on the not-so-athletic Blackburn. It was just underthrown. I could hear the disappointment about the play in Brady's voice, and I don't blame him for that. He had to watch that play on replay and say, Are you kidding me? Chase Blackburn in coverage and I can't get it over that guy's head?

    "I can throw the ball today as far as I've ever been able to throw it,'' Brady said. "That's not the issue there. [Brett] Favre threw it great in his last year or so. Jamie Moyer's still getting people out. That's not a problem.''

    Brady called the other day to discuss one of the things he's felt strongly about for years -- an organization called Best Buddies, a volunteer movement that promotes personal and professional relationships and work opportunities for intellectually and developmentally disabled people. Brady's been attending the major Boston fundraiser since 2002, and his support has helped the cause raise millions.

    "This is not the hip, cool cause of the day,'' said Best Buddies founder Anthony Kennedy Shriver. "But Tom has been huge in helping us build our brand. I think he saw an underserved population, and he saw an organization with a commitment to help, and he's been there for us to help us grow.''

    "Anyone who takes part is never the same,'' Brady said. "You can see how important this is in so many people's lives. It's a great feeling for me to be able to give back to a community that's been so wonderful to me.''

    Brady plays in a touch football game on June 1 at Harvard Stadium, then takes part in the 100-mile bike ride from Boston to Hyannis June 2 with several Patriots and local celebs. Last year, Belichick made the bike ride. For free tickets to the Friday night game, go to, and for information on joining the bike ride, go to

    "For as long as I'm here in Boston, and beyond, I'll spread the message,'' Brady said.

    As for how long that will be, Brady says all the right things -- he'd love to play his entire career in New England, but he's got to earn his spot every year. He saw what just happened with Peyton Manning, and he knows that might be something he faces one day. "That's a great example of how sometimes true professionals have to move on,'' he said. "Nothing surprises me anymore in the NFL.''

    It's unlikely Brady moves on, but it's not impossible. Brady knows if it can happen to Manning, it can happen to him, especially with a bottom-line guy like Belichick making the calls.

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  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from agcsbill. Show agcsbill's posts

    Re: How come that number never goes down?

    Will Rusty still be around when Brady retires?  Who goes first, Rusty or Brady?
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from ATJ. Show ATJ's posts

    Re: How come that number never goes down?

    Great piece.  I think Belichick said it best: 'There's no one I'd rather have at quartterback for this football team.'  I want Tom to play as long as he can still be Tom.
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  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from danemcmenamin. Show danemcmenamin's posts

    Re: How come that number never goes down?

    In Response to Re: How come that number never goes down?:
    BB threw King out of Foxborough, so King slams BB and then praises Brady because Brady is a nicer guy. We've seen this before.  Fluff piece.  I am sure Brady does want to make 20 mil per and play as long as he wants. I don't blame him.  I would want the same thing  Gomer Manning said similar things, so we'll see how he looks one year older and away from the game in a new setting in Denver. Some of you would choose Brady over Mallett even if a crystal ball showed Mallett winning us a SB next year. I love Brady as much as the next fan, but I refuse to sit here and lie and pretend that bad or mediocre QB play wins postseason games and SBs. It's Brady who says the next ring is the best one, not me. We're all really waiting on #12.  We just saw BB put the final nails in the infrastructure on D with another good looking draft, so it's not on the D anymore with the dorks like Peter King enjoying his little fairytale world of rubbing elbows with NFL superstars who end up talking to him, all googly-eyed because Brady gives him the time of day with a quote over the phone.  According to King, the GIants have the cap era blueprint, not BB and his 3 rings, 5 SB appearances and wizardy as a GM rebuilding a decimated scouting staff, front office and yound D on the fly like this. Some media hacks are going to look awfully dumb this year needing to praise this D. Will Brady be praised after SB 47 in New Orleans?  Nice to see him publicly acknowledged the bad INT in the SB. Good first step.
    Posted by BassFishingII

    You're too much man my gawd I mean ok we don't get to the superbowl without the improved play of the D and Brady made some terrible decisions in the postseason. Do we even get to the postseason without Brady though!? Furthermore does a QB look like this when he doesn't think the throw he's just made was a bad one..............

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  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from ATJ. Show ATJ's posts

    Re: How come that number never goes down?

    Rusty, I was merely commenting on an article favorable to Brady and stating quite clearly what I think of TB.  I'm not suggesting the guy is perfect.  I've had some critical things to say about the guy in the past most particularly that pick he threw trying to go deep to a hobbled Gronk.  That said, I'm not going to go on and on about all the guy's flaws.  He's a great QB who's made his share of mistakes.

    With respect to BB, I don't know any coach anywhere who is as reticent about his players' flaws in public but is so cold blooded about them in private.  And I totally agree; that's the way it should be.

    Yeah, it was a puff piece; nothing wrong with that in my view.
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  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from Philskiw1. Show Philskiw1's posts

    Re: How come that number never goes down?

    Brady's wife asked him that. She makes a lot more money then he does. After she tried to stand up for him and all the harassment he takes from her dressing him shes probably fed up. She probably wonders that those 2 could buy an island, *which his house seems the size of*, and just hide from the public. Brady will play until Vollmer gives up another one of those back bending hits again.
    I hope Mr Brady plays as long as the game is still fun to him. This teams done enough for me winning 3 in my lifetime. I think this team will function w o Brady when that time comes. You have to step up seems to be how they operate
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  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from Paul_K. Show Paul_K's posts

    Re: How come that number never goes down?

    If you have a really good old car, like a 1990s Honda or Toyota, not a 1980s Ford, as long as you don't wrap it around a tree its expected lifetime keeps growing forward while you drive it.  Accidents get rid of most of these cars and if you don't have an accident the clock keeps moving forward.

    Peyton Manning had an accident.  He wrapped his neck around a tree.  Brady has a bum shoulder that he has to watch and his knee was (successfully, apparently) rebuilt, but otherwise he's pretty good.  John Elway went to age 40 and won two Super Bowls at the end.  So it's mostly a matter of staying safe on the field.  BB and Kraft have set Brady up with quick pass-blocking tackles, wide open receivers and a running game to keep the defense guessing, absolutely the red carpet of pass protection in the NFL.  Finally, nobody hits Brady in the fourth quarter because he calls 3 running plays and hopes for a first down, so that saves wear and tear.

    The only known age-related problem is a loss of mental quickness in releasing the ball.  Quarterbacks keep getting better from year 5 to year 10 and possibly beyond.
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  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from DoNotSleepOnThePats. Show DoNotSleepOnThePats's posts

    Re: How come that number never goes down?

    I have never had a better feeling about the Patriots going into a season than I do about this one.  Brady is pi**ed off, we loaded the wide receiving core, drafted some solid defensive pieces, got an easy schedule (on paper).  Bringing in a blocking tight end (Fells) and some fullbacks is going to make this offense more dynamic.  If Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower bring anything to the table....oh boy!