THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Adrian Walker

Can’t take our eyes off crash

By Adrian Walker
Globe Columnist / September 11, 2010

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Tom Brady is OK, thank God.

I know this for certain, because I own two television sets, and very excitable folks on both were reassuring me almost immediately that the dashing Patriots QB was healthy, and would even be ready to play tomorrow in the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.

I was worried for a while, and you probably were too. When I saw the crowds gathering at the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Gloucester Street I feared the worst — and that was even before I knew who was involved. But I knew crowds wouldn’t be gathering around a crash scene unless it was bad. My concern only intensified when every sports reporter in town — and many non-sports reporters — huddled at Gillette Stadium waiting for a glance of poor, shaggy Tom.

By then, a story line was beginning to take shape: that Brady appeared shaken, but wasn’t really hurt, and — crucially — that the accident wasn’t his fault. Teammates were interrogated and testified that their captain was unscathed.

It all started to get a little boring, to be honest. The Patriots, as is their wont, had nothing of interest to say. And Brady, predictably, said nothing at all.

Meanwhile, I was starting to wonder why Brady being unhurt in an accident was getting the same kind of attention it would if he were, you know, hurt.

I realize that Boston feels emotionally invested in the franchise QB. He’s a wonderful story, even if I liked him a little better when he was less stylish. Love the quarterback; the sometime model, not so much.

There was, of course, another car in the crash. It was driven by 21-year-old Ludgero Rodrigues, whose father, Rogerio, was the one person who was seriously injured. He was in surgery yesterday. The younger Rodrigues apparently ran a red light, which prompted some talk show callers to question his immigration status, and to muse about whether he should be deported for running into Brady. I kid you not.

Every indication is that young Rodrigues is in for a pounding. Already, early reports wrongly said he had been arrested for drunken driving; state driving records said as much, but officials say it was a case of stolen identity. He does have a sorry history of infractions, but nothing that involves dangerous driving. And while I realize that immigration is an easy accelerant on radio and cable, the instant fixation on it didn’t reflect well on the Brady fans raising the issue. Tom Brady Sr. — the quarterback’s father — deserves credit for expressing concern for the Rodrigues family at a time when most of us were treating them as an afterthought.

And by a show of hands, let’s see the Boston drivers who have never run through a light.

Brady has always come across as a glass-half-full kind of guy, and this accident seems to be no exception. On the same day that he walked away from a serious accident by brushing some broken glass off his jeans, he signed a $72 million contract extension. Though the contract was obviously almost done, some in the football commentariat speculated that he signed Thursday because the accident was a reminder that anything can happen. Hard to know how they arrived at this, since Brady hasn’t said a word, but I guess it’s a reasonable hunch.

This is not a hunch: It’s really good to be Tom Brady. Even the $97,000 car he wrecked was apparently loaned to him by a charity he works with, and he clearly won’t be sweating the possibility of a higher insurance premium.

Brady is certain to be closely scrutinized during tomorrow’s game, lest he have some hidden injury. Or just in case he still looks shaken.

And for all I know, helicopters may be hovering around the Back Bay, tracking his movements, for weeks to come. Because Tom Brady walked away from a car accident, and we can’t possibly know enough about it.

Adrian Walker is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at walker@globe.com.

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