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Brady calls an early end

Cromartie queries irk quarterback

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By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / October 6, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH - Tom Brady can’t catch a break this year when it comes to his news conferences.

Three weeks ago, he encouraged fans to start drinking early so they’d be loud for the Patriots home opener against the Chargers. But the backlash he received from those who said he was irresponsible had him vowing not to make any more jokes.

Yesterday, he was met in the media room by the usual familiar faces, as well as a number of reporters from New York, who are in town to chronicle the Patriots’ side of things heading into Sunday’s game against the Jets.

Brady was uncharacteristically curt from the start. The fourth question was about Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who in the run-up to the playoff showdown last January said he hated Brady and used a profanity to describe him. This week, Cromartie said he stands by his comments.

Asked about that, Brady said, “I don’t care what he says about me. I really don’t.’’

The follow-up question concerned what Brady thinks of Cromartie as a player, and the quarterback praised Cromartie and fellow corner Darrelle Revis.

“He’s very good, excellent player,’’ said Brady. “They have two very good corners. Well, they have a bunch of very good corners, actually.

“The two that are out there on their regular defense are very good. They’re both fast, they’re both physical. They play well at the line of scrimmage. They’re very disruptive.’’

Questions about the Jets’ overall defense, Revis, the Jets’ performance last Sunday against the Ravens, and Wes Welker’s stellar season followed.

But then the same reporter brought up Cromartie again, saying the Jet accused Brady of “antics’’ and “taunting’’ when the Patriots score. Midway through the question, Brady smirked.

“I really don’t care what he says,’’ Brady said, and then walked off.

Brady’s weekly news conferences normally last more than 10 minutes. This one was over in five.

Singled out Plaxico Burress will be facing the Patriots on Sunday for the first time since his winning catch in Super Bowl XLII as a member of the Giants.

Eli [Manning] told me before I broke the huddle that if they gave me single coverage, he was going to throw it,’’ said Burress. “I’m just thinking to myself, there’s no way they’re going to single cover me at this time in the game.

“I just went up, just made a move, never broke stride, just kept running. I had watched so much film on [Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs] that if I had a chance to run that route, I knew exactly how and when to run it. I knew when we lined up that I had a great shot to make the game-winning catch.’’

Said Hobbs, who is retired and living in Atlanta, “I played the coverage to the best of my ability. All-out blitz, a team like the Giants that had constantly run inside routes - I’m thinking all of this in a matter of seconds - the quickest and easiest thing is the inside throw, play what you know best. It so happens they ran it the other way.’’

Burress, naturally, calls the reception the best moment of his career.

“Being able to play in the Super Bowl, but to win it in the fashion that I did, it’s something that you dream of as a child,’’ he said. “To do it against a team that was probably the best in history offensively, what they had accomplished. How big that game was, it’s just something that will always be a part of me. It was a defining moment of a lot of guys in our careers and it was a beautiful moment.’’

Missing links Seven Patriots missed practice yesterday, and eight more were limited for the team’s first on-field session of the week.

While there was optimism that tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is recovering from a sprain to his left medial collateral ligament, would return Sunday, he was among yesterday’s absentees.

Others not taking part were: Jerod Mayo (knee), Danny Woodhead (ankle), Albert Haynesworth (back), Julian Edelman (ankle), Sebastian Vollmer (back), and Mike Wright (concussion).

On the positive side, Taylor Price, who has been battling a hamstring injury, was not on the list for the first time since the season began.

Quiet time Followers of Chad Ochocinco’s Twitter account have noticed that it’s been silent. Yesterday, he revealed that he lost a bet to a friend, and he must go silent on Twitter for three weeks. Ochocinco’s last tweet was Sept. 24, so he must stay silent through Oct. 14.

Christopher L. Gasper and Monique Walker of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Shalise Manza Young can be reached at syoung@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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