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Brady reports nothing new

QB is focusing on game, not contract

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By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / September 9, 2010

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FOXBOROUGH — For a guy who makes fun of himself for his lack of mobility and speed on the field, Tom Brady is sure proving elusive when it comes to his contract.

In three interviews yesterday — his paid weekly appearance on WEEI, his usual Wednesday powwow with the media in the Patriots locker room, and a conference call with media covering the Cincinnati Bengals — the quarterback gave few clues about the status of contract talks and whether he’ll sign a new deal before the season opener Sunday.

The sides are making progress on a four-year deal that could be signed before kickoff against the Bengals.

Just don’t expect Brady to admit to being concerned with anything but Cincinnati’s aggressive defense.

“It’s not even a part of my thoughts right now,’’ Brady said of his contract. “I haven’t thought about it yesterday, today . . . I’m just thinking about the team we have to play. I owe that to this team. They have a lot of things going on, too, but when they come into work, they’re focused on the team. I think that’s my responsibility and my role and that’s what I love to do anyway. That’s what I’m going to continue to try to do.’’

In 2005, Brady signed a six-year, $60 million contract extension. Though he received a $3 million bonus in March, the $3.5 million base salary the three-time Super Bowl winner will pull in this year ranks 21st among NFL quarterbacks — far less than his former backup, Matt Cassel of the Chiefs, less than Titans No. 2 QB Kerry Collins and Eagles reserve Michael Vick, less than his counterpart with the Jets, Mark Sanchez, who has won but 10 games in his young career.

It is believed that Brady wants to have an agreement in place before Sunday in part because of what happened two years ago in New England’s season opener, when Kansas City’s Bernard Pollard dived into Brady’s lower left leg. The quarterback missed the entire year with torn knee ligaments.

He acknowledged that the threat of another injury plays a role in his desire to have things settled this week.

“That’s a big part of it. This is a physical game. I’ve had four surgeries in eight years — my shoulder and my knee and my groin, and another one, too,’’ he said a bit cryptically. “But pretty much every other year you’re having a surgery. All surgeries are major as far as I’m concerned now. You count your blessings when you come off the field; I think you have a new appreciation when you do come off the field, win or lose. You’re trying to win every time out, obviously. But I think you also pinch yourself every time you walk off the field healthy and say, ‘Man, at least I get a chance to go out next week and play too.’ ’’

Ever the pragmatist, Brady told WEEI that every one of his teammates and coaches would likely prefer to get a bump in pay or more security. He also took time to stump for receiver Randy Moss, who suddenly became a topic of discussion when he told a reporter that he feels “unwanted’’ because the Patriots haven’t made him an offer to remain beyond this year, and guard Logan Mankins, who is in a contract dispute with the team.

But yesterday was Brady Day, and it should not be a surprise that he stood up to the pressure of repeated questions in much the same way he stands in the pocket in the face of oncoming defenders.

“I don’t know. I don’t know,’’ he said when asked if he believed he’d have a new deal before the end of the season. “I have no idea. We’ve had a chance to deal with it this offseason and we are where we’re at. I’m excited with where we’re at for this season. I think that’s what I owe this team. I don’t assume anything. I just want to come out and play football. That’s where I’m at.

“I don’t assume anything anymore in life. I don’t think anything is guaranteed to us beyond what we have today and I really feel that way. That’s the approach I’ve taken over the years, because you never really know when your last day will be. I really try to just take it one day at a time. I know it’s a cliché and all that, but it’s the truth.

“I think it’s a great message for all of us: no matter what your job, you’re living and enjoying today and that’s what’s most important to me.’’

Albert R. Breer of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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