Thursday, 4:30 PM
Brady recounts Weis's 'pain' after surgery
(George Rizer/Globe Staff)
Court officers escorted Patriots quarterback Tom Brady into Suffolk Superior Court today to testify in a medical malpractice lawsuit brought by the team's former offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis.
By Yvonne Abraham and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
Tom Brady testified today in Suffolk Superior Court for the coach he called his mentor, recounting a bedside vigil the Patriots quarterback kept as Charlie Weis bled internally for 30 hours after gastric bypass surgery.
Weis groomed Brady when he was New England's offensive coordinator, helping the college standout rise from a backup behind Drew Bledsoe to an NFL star who led the Patriots to three Super Bowls. The current head coach at Notre Dame, Weis wrote in his autobiography that Brady "became like a son," who continued to seek advice from him long after he left New England.
On the stand today, Brady's admiration for his mentor was evident as he spoke about their unusually close coach-player relationship in Weis's medical malpractice trial.
"He always forced you to work hard and be accountable," said Brady, who looked at the jury as he answered questions.
The quarterback wore a dark pinstriped suit with a white pocket square on the stand and discussed how jarring it was to see Weis floating in and out of consciousness when he visited him at Massachusetts General Hospital in June 2002.
"I realized this was a very serious issue," said Brady, who stood at his bedside and comforted Weis's wife, Maura Weis.
He told the jury that Weis was never physically the same after the surgery. On the sidelines, Weis was constantly reaching down to massage his legs, where he says he suffered nerve damage from the complications after the procedure.
"I just remember him expressing the pain he was in," Brady said, looking at the jury. "Charlie was never one to complain. He toughs it out."
But the surgeons' lawyer, William J. Dailey Jr., has said in court that Weis had been told about the dangers of a gastric bypass, including the risk of internal bleeding. The doctors did their best and saved his life when complications arose, Dailey said.
Under cross examination, Brady acknowledged that although Weis was often pained by the nerve damage in his legs, his personality did not change after the surgery.
Weis testified on Tuesday that he decided to have the surgery because he did not want to die of a heart attack, as his father did at age 56. He said the nerve damage in his feet has stopped him from walking with his wife, playing with his children, or running on the football field with his team at the start of a game.
From his time in intensive care after the surgery, Weis said he has only two memories. He can recall a Catholic priest standing over him to administer last rites because he was so close to death, and he remembers the steady presence of Brady.
After recovery, Weis authored a book titled "No Excuses: One Man's Incredible Rise Through the NFL to Head Coach of Notre Dame," in which he wrote that he would be forever indebted to Brady for the time he spent at his bedside.
"You'll never, ever hear me say a bad thing about Tommy Brady as a person for as long as I live," Weis wrote.
On the stand today, Brady said similar words about Weis, who he once described as the "personality" behind the Patriots successful offense.
The quarterback was also able to inject a moment of levity in what has been a very clinical trial. Brady joked about always rooting for Weis and his Fighting Irish at Notre Dame -- except when the team plays Michigan, Brady’s alma mater. The jurors all laughed.