THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Dan Shaughnessy

Absent QB now a man about town

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By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / May 27, 2009
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Tom speaks. Tom says the knee is fine. He says the staph infection setback was his own fault because he was carrying baby Jack around his hospital room two days after surgery. Tom says there was never a consideration of a second major surgery. He says Coach Bill didn't want him on the sidelines after he was injured. He says he wants to play another 10 years, until he is 41. Oh, and he says there were no gunshots fired at his "second" wedding celebration in Costa Rica.

"Our security guards didn't even have guns," Tom Brady told Sports Illustrated's Peter King.

You'll probably hear Tom say all this again when the Patriots finally unveil him at Gillette Stadium tomorrow, but for now we know these things only because the intrepid King scored an exclusive interview with Tom at practice last week.

Good for King. These days, it's rare when anybody at Gillette grants an interview of substance without cash changing hands.

The scramble for Brady nuggets has been particularly challenging since Bernard Pollard plowed into Brady's knee Sept. 7, 2008. Tom would show up for charities on occasion, but for most of the last eight months, he has been more scarce than a David Ortiz home run. And the chase has only been compounded by his courtship and recent marriage to one of the most famous women in the world.

I had a sense that Brady was ready to come out of the bunker Sunday when I saw a photograph of Gisele Bundchen on the cover of the Herald ("as she strolled in Brighton," read the caption). Yesterday the Inside Track reported that Tom and little Jack were spotted getting fitted for bikes and helmets at International Cycle in Newton.

Yikes. That's my neighborhood. Gisele strolling in Brighton? Tom at our town cyclery? How did I miss them? Did I walk right by Gisele when I went to the Stockyard Saturday? Was she standing in front of me in line at Oak Square Cleaners? Did I drive past Tom pedaling little Jack up Commonwealth Ave. when I went to get pizza on Memorial Day? Did I not notice the Brady bunch eating breakfast at the next table at IHOP on Soldiers Field Road?

All this time with no words from Brady, and now it turns out he has been right around the corner, doing all the stuff we do every day.

Tom was pretty much everywhere you looked Monday and yesterday. ESPN camera guys were setting up for Monday's Syracuse-Cornell NCAA lacrosse championship at Gillette Sunday when they spotted a familiar-looking fellow throwing footballs on the turf down below. Tom was wearing a red T-shirt and black sweatpants, throwing effortlessly, looking pain-free.

Yesterday morning, the sports network looped the footage and breathlessly announced that Brady was back. Wendi Nix phoned in from Foxborough to report that Brady was expected to be on the field for an organized team activity ("OTA" in the parlance of the self-important NFL). WEEI's midday guys said Brady was going to be available to the media yesterday, but team publicist Stacey James told me that Brady would be not be available until tomorrow.

There was no media access to the Patriots or Brady, but the club reported that Brady went through practice with his teammates. It was Brady's first formal practice with the fellows since he was injured in September.

So all we had was King's impending cover story, which was released on the web yesterday afternoon.

"I really wanted to let Tom speak," King said. "I usually don't tape interviews, but I taped this one. I just wanted to allow him to talk and let football fans hear him say something."

Good stuff. Tom is back and Tom is healthy and he wants to play another 10 seasons.

"People say, 'What will you do if you don't play football?' " Brady told King. "Why would I even think of doing anything else? What would I do instead of run out in front of 80,000 people and command 52 guys and be around guys I consider brothers and be one of the real gladiators? Why would I ever want to do anything else? It's so hard to think of anything that would match what I do: Fly to the moon? Jump out of planes? Bungee-jump off cliffs? None of that [expletive] matters to me. I want to play the game I love, be with my wife and son, and enjoy life."

Amen, Tom. See you and Gisele at the Dunkin' Donuts on North Beacon Street.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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