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Brady: Listen to Belichick

QB tells SI team tuned out coach

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / May 11, 2010

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It doesn’t happen often, but when Tom Brady wants to make a point, he makes it.

The Patriots quarterback recently spoke to Sports Illustrated — his first comments of the offseason — and twice mentioned he and teammates must be receptive to coaching.

Asked about the Patriots’ late-season problems, including their 38-17 home loss to Baltimore in the postseason, Brady said, “We’ve got to start listening to coach [Bill] Belichick. We’ve got young kids who are good players. We’ve got the best football coach of all time. He’s got the answers. We as a team have to take the coaching we’re being given.’’

Brady is not the first player to insinuate some of the team’s young players didn’t take to coaching as well as they could have; other veterans made similar comments off the record late in the season.

Later in the article on the SI website, which leads Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback,’’ Brady talked about the high expectations the Patriots face annually after a decade of success. Again, the 2007 league MVP mentioned coaching.

“Our fans think just because we’re wearing the same jerseys, we’re the same team. And we’re not,’’ Brady said. “Teams change in this league every year, and ours is no exception. Last year was pretty disappointing in a lot of ways, obviously. Losing to Baltimore the way we lost in the playoffs, losing leads late, losing on the road. Every year is so different, and the way we approach this year will be extremely important. We need to see the toughness. We need to see the commitment. Can we take the coaching?’’

Speaking of commitment, Brady’s has been questioned, as he has spent just about two weeks at Gillette Stadium participating in the offseason program (which began about two months ago). Brady told King he was rejoining teammates yesterday, but the majority of his offseason has been spent in the Los Angeles area, where he can be with his older son, Jack.

But as he noted, where he once devoted himself to offseason training, his life has changed.

“It’s a balancing act,’’ Brady said. “I don’t want the next 10 years to go by and say I wasn’t there for my sons [he also has a 5-month-old, Benjamin, with wife Gisele Bundchen]. I wish I could be [in Foxborough] the way I was when I was 24, but life is different now. Things are actually much more simple than they’ve ever been. I used to spend every weekend running around with friends. Now I’ve got two great kids, and I love spending time with them.’’

Brady also proclaimed himself to be as healthy as he has ever been, and said he has been throwing “quite often’’ to teammate Wes Welker, who is rehabbing on the West Coast from knee and rotator cuff surgeries. Brady did not elaborate on Welker’s recovery, but said, “He was an undrafted free agent and has had to work for anything he’s ever gotten. So don’t put anything past him.’’

“This is the best I’ve felt in a long, long time,’’ Brady said. “Last year I was ready for the season, but this year I’m not doing rehab; I’m just getting ready as normal for the season.’’

Exhibition Thursday
The Patriots will play their four exhibition games on consecutive Thursday nights. On Aug. 12 at 7:30 p.m. they host New Orleans; on Aug. 19 they visit Atlanta at 8 p.m., nationally televised on Fox; on Aug. 26 they host St. Louis at 7:30 p.m.; and on Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. they play the Giants in the new Meadowlands . . . The Patriots re-signed running back Chris Taylor. The oft-injured 26-year-old came to the Patriots last August after being released by Houston, but spent the season on injured reserve (shoulder). In 2008, he was on IR for the final 10 games of the season, and he missed the entire ’07 campaign with a knee injury. The 6-foot, 224-pound former Indiana standout was an undrafted rookie in 2006.

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