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Optimistic Brady says he'll be ready for opener

By Mike Reiss
Globe Staff / February 19, 2009
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Striking an optimistic tone, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said yesterday he's progressing from knee surgery as expected and sees no reason he won't be ready for the 2009 season opener.

Brady added that he's "doing everything" in his workouts and that "you wouldn't know that I had surgery if you watched me." He said he's "moved on" and that he considers his injured left knee a "non-issue."

The comments were Brady's most expansive since he underwent surgery Oct. 6, and later contracted an infection in the knee. Brady indicated that he is no longer worried about the infection, which could have threatened the integrity of the initial surgical repair, adding that he is no longer being treated for anything related to the infection.

"Now it's about trying to move on with the normal getting ready for the season," Brady said at the West End House Boys & Girls Club, where he was providing 1,000 laptops to children as part of the One Laptop Per Child program, through the Patriots Charitable Foundation. "I'm going through as if this was our offseason conditioning program. I'm lifting and running and fo cusing on strength and working on the game film and those types of things. It's exciting to be back doing things that I like and enjoy."

Asked if he could forecast his availability for the opening week of the season Sept. 10-14, Brady said he believes he'll be ready.

"Yeah, you certainly think so. There is no reason why I shouldn't," he said. "It's just a matter of getting to that time. I wish it was right around the corner. I wish it was here now. It's not, but the competitor in me has to sit back and wait and continue to work and try to get stronger. We have to build a foundation as a team. There have been a lot of changes."

In balancing family obligations and his football career, Brady has been splitting time between California and Gillette Stadium. He said he was working with new Patriots quarterbacks coach Bill O'Brien as recently as Tuesday, and he also worked out with fellow quarterback Matt Cassel last weekend. He said he'll be excited to see the rest of his teammates in March when they return for offseason work.

Brady loosened his arm a bit yesterday, lofting some passes in a gymnasium with children from the Boys & Girls Club, and later dropped to the floor to do pushups with them.

"I'm feeling great. I'm feeling really good. Everything is progressing just as I expected," he told reporters before being asked if he had had a setback.

"I think initially I said there was," Brady responded, referring to his infection. "Since then, there has been nothing."

Brady reflected on the time he learned of his infection, and indicated that he never considered his career to be in jeopardy.

"Well, it's unexpected, so like a lot of things in life that are unexpected, I listened to it, I made the decisions we had to make, and we moved forward," he said. "I did the best I could do, and people that helped me through this entire process did everything they could do. I'm never one to dwell on bad news. We lose a game, I move on. I get hurt - you get hurt [seven] minutes into the season, and everybody moves on - that's the way it is. That's part of this game. You have to be mentally tough and you have to understand that this is part of your profession, part of the environment we're in.

"I'm looking forward to getting out there playing - I think that's what I enjoy most. The training part is fun, but at the same time the playing part is the best. That's what I miss the most."

While Brady remained available to his teammates last season, and participated in some behind-the-scenes quarterback meetings, his absence from the sideline was by design.

"Bill [Belichick] and I talked about it, and I don't think he wanted me to be a distraction," Brady said. "He said, 'I don't want you to stand there and every time we throw an incomplete pass, the camera is focused on you.' I said, 'I agree. I don't want to be that either. I want us to go about our job.' He didn't want me to stand there and be a cheerleader all day, and I said, 'That's fine with me.' "

Mike Reiss can be reached at mreiss@globe.com.

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