The media scrum around Tom Brady today in Foxborough. (John Tlumacki / Globe Staff)
Here's the complete transcript from Tom Brady's Q&A with the media this afternoon, as transcribed by the Patriots' media relations department:
Q: How are you feeling?
TB: Iím feeling like itís about the sixth day of training camp, so itís been fun to be out here. Weíve got a lot of work to do, so itís obviously fun to participate and be a part of all the activities and Iím as excited as anybody.
Q: Whatís been going through your mind the last day or so as you get back to playing football?
TB: Itís just a lot, I think, of excitement. Itís a new year, thereíre new challenges for us and thereíre some great opportunities. We have a veteran team, and I think as a quarterback, training camp is a little bit different for us than for everybody else; weíre not hitting or a part of the tackling drill or any of that, so itís about the only time I can yell at guys a lot bigger than me and not get my ass kicked.
Q: Are you looking at the knee at all or thinking about it at all?
TB: Iím not. Iíve kind of made a concerted effort to move on. That was last season and this is this season. I donít think about it. I think itís been a great learning experience for me and Iím using it, really, as a positive. Hopefully I can go out this year and be a great quarterback for this team.
Q: Still, you must be looking forward to the games and testing where you are mentally and physically.
TB: Yeah. The games are fun, especially for the players because camp is challenging because itís just nonstop. Coach said yesterday, Ďdonít look for any light at the end of the tunnel because itís dark.í We can tell it is, so when the games come, weíll know weíve put in a lot of great practices and hopefully weíre prepared for those games when they come. In the meantime, weíve got a lot of work to do.
Q: Did anything good come from your injury?
TB: Yeah, I said in minicamp I think Iíve learned a lot of things that I wouldnít have learned had I been playing, things that help you grow as a person and as a player, as a leader, as a teammate. Iím going to take those lessons and hopefully be a better player for them. When youíre sitting watching, itís not fun and youíre not a part of it and you donít feel a part of it, even though youíre a part of the team. I feel a part of it now.
Q: Is it kind of like riding a bike?
TB: Yeah. Thatís a lot [of it]. You come out, take the snap, you hand it off, you run through the drills. Weíre practicing and we have a lot of two-a-days, so heís going to make it a challenging camp for us and we need it. We need the work, we need the time that we can use every day. Weíve got quite a few new players and new things come up every day in practice that were going to need to learn from so that we can take those into the game and hopefully be very prepared when those come around.
Q: What is your comfort level on the field with your knee brace?
TB: You forget about it. Itís the last thing Iím thinking about out here. Iíve got so many other things to think about, trying to complete the ball. You put the thing on and then you take it off. I donít think too much of it.
Q: Do you feel itís restricting you at all?
TB: Have I gone from slow to slower? Thatís possible, but that doesnít matter most.
Q: How much added pressure is there given that you didnít make the playoffs last year?
TB: That was a tough year for us last year. We had a tough first half of the year and the second half of the year we really came on, but it was just too late. A lot of the mistakes we made earlier in the year, I think thatís why coach really wants to get us off to a much better start than we did last year. [We went] 0-4 in the preseason and we didnít play particularly well in any phase of the game, and this year he wants to put a lot of emphasis on us getting out and being prepared, so that when those games come we can build on those games. Itís a long camp, but it goes fast. I think I have learned that over the years. You blink your eye and youíre ready for that first game. It feels long and in some ways your body gets fatigued, but it goes fast and every day that weíre out here is valuable for us. We wouldnít do it if it wasnít important, so there are a lot of important practices left and we all have to bring excitement and energy and enthusiasm each day to practice.
Q: Do you think youíll play in the preseason?
TB: Yeah, I think Iíll play. I think Iíll play. I mean, last year it wasnít like I wasnít supposed to play. I would have loved to have played. Just some circumstances came up where I couldnít. I think itís really important for a quarterback to be out there playing. If youíre the leader of the offense, youíve got to be out there leading in the preseason and in practices. Iím excited for those games because I think we can make improvements in those games.
Q: Does your arm feel normal or are you building up the strength as you go along?
TB: It feels pretty good and then you come out and do four or five practices in a row and it doesnít feel as hot, so itís part of what training camp is about. The soreness becomes a part of the practices and you just have to do a good job of taking care of yourself. My arm was in really good shape coming in. It still feels like its in good shape, so hopefully it stays that way. Itís always something the quarterbackÖthatís whatís important for us. No one cares if my ankle is not good, itís my arm.
Q: Did being away deepen your appreciation?
TB: I think you certainly appreciate it no matter what. For us to be out here playing football. I mean, itís like we donít have a real job; we play football. Itís fun to be out here. Youíre with your friends and teammates and playing a great game and we have so many great fans and support and the coverage, obviously, it is fun for us. It hasnít always been like this, so weíre all very appreciative. And when you donít play for a long time, in a way you forget Ė not that you forget how fun it is when youíre out here because sometimes you do focus on the things you donít enjoy so often, but like I said earlier, you would take all those things that arenít as fun to exchange those and be out here and be a part of the team.
Q: How anxious are you to get in the team and have people around your knee?
TB: Yeah I think thatís just part of the process. Weíll see when that comes up. There will be plenty of guys to test it. Out here in practice thereíre guys flying around. Iím going to get hit plenty this year, so Iím sure it will hold up and Iíll be just fine.
Q: Was it difficult for you to stay away from the team last year? Did you want to be on the sidelines giving Matt Cassel advice?
TB: Well I was here all week and when the games came, you donít want to be a distraction; you donít want to get in the way of what the team is doing. Weíve got plenty of great coaches on this team that provide insight during the week, so coach just said ĎI think itís probably best for you to just watch it and watch it at home and take care of yourself and focus on getting betterí.
Q: Do you sense Bill Belichick is hungrier after what happened last season?
TB: Yeah. Billís going soft on us. He doesnít yell at us like he used to. Weíre looking for him to get after us a little bit. I think heísÖI donít know what happened. I think as heís getting older heís getting a little softer.
Q: What about double sessions for the first week?
TB: Yeah, I think heís pretty committed to that.
Q: Can you talk about the challenges youíve faced personally this year coming off an injury and what youíre expecting?
TB: Itís challenging every year. You always think as a veteran player, Ďman, Iíve been through this before. Iíve run the plays, I know the defenses,í but itís a very tough game and thereís a lot that happens and a lot of decisions that you need to make in a quick amount of time out there. Itís about getting out there and going through the processes and thereís no shortcut. You just have to do it and you have to show up to practice. Like I said, you have to be focused and bring the energy. When you do that, things go pretty well. When you donít, they go bad. As a quarterback, you never want them to go bad. I think there are different challenges for all of us. For me, I think itís about not being the guy that holds this team back. I want to be the guy thatís leading this team. Weíve got a lot of great players, and I want to be able to lead those guys.
Q: When do you start counting down to the first regular season game?
TB: Well, you always have that first regular season game in the back of your mind. Thatís kind of what youíre hoping for, but there are a lot of other things in the meantime, we need to focus on those short-term goals. Coach talks about, Ďletís have a good practice today, and tomorrow weíll worry about tomorrow.í Thatís a great way to handle things. The excitement of whatís ahead helps motivate you, but at the same time, you canít look past this afternoonís practice because if you do, youíre really going to put yourself in a disadvantageous for what the goal may be.
Q: Have you talked to other players who have come back from similar injuries?
TB: Not really. There are a lot of injured players out here, so weíre all in the training room together [with] ice bags and commiserating when weíre not out there, so you learn. Iím an athlete, so there have been injuries in my career Ė none that have kept me out of games, but in the offseason Iíve dealt with some things. You learn to deal with them.
Q: How would you rate where you are with Randy Moss right now, as far as being on the same page?
TB: Itís easy to have great chemistry with Randy. Heís the best receiver, probably, ever to play the game. You just have to throw it where heís running because heís usually open. We spent a lot of great time this offseason with Wes [Welker], and Joey [Galloway] was here a lot and Greg [Lewis] was here a lot. I feel like we got off to a really good start, but this is really when it all begins. Randy, when heís out here, is one of the hardest working guys we have and heís so fun to have on the team. Heís a great teammate and we have a great relationship. Thereís been a lot of trust thatís been built up over the last few years and I look forward to being back on the field with him.
Q: Are you confident you can step back in and have the kind of year you had two years ago?
TB: Yeah, I hope it finishes different if we are in that position [playing in the Super Bowl]. I hope we play well to start the year, I hope we play well in the middle of the year, and I hope we play well down the stretch and I think that starts with this foundation. Itís easy to go and make a lot of playoff predictions and it happens every year. No one would have though the Miami Dolphins would have won the division last year after finishing 1-15 and they did. Weíre looking up at those guys and the Bills and the Jets are obviously a challenge with a new coach, so within our own division weíve got plenty of challenges. Weíre going to have to overcome those and see what this team is all about.
Q: Whatís been more challenging: rehabbing your knee or married life?
TB: Oh man. Theyíre not so hard. Both have been very good, very timely, and like I said, a lot of growing and Iím excited to be back out her doing my job. Thatís where I belong.
Q: Kevin Faulk was joking about the publicity surrounding your marriage yesterday. Is that the kind of camaraderie you miss?
TB: Yeah. This is really a great environment for us as players. When you leave the stadium, thatís when things get a little hectic for you. When youíre here, youíre focused on your job and your teammates. Playing cards or having putting contests in the locker room and stuff like that is fun and when youíre away from those friends of yours and the people you rely on for support, thatís a tough thing to go through. We have great chemistry within our team and I think its really the environment thatís been set here by some of the players we have now and some of the former players like Troy [Brown], David Patten and Deion [Branch] and guys that have just been really great guys. Weíre trying to carry on that tradition.
Q: Youíre busy saving lives when youíre outside the team, right?
TB: Well, not quite. Not quite. Weíre just trying to make it through the next day sometimes, but things are great and everyoneís excited.
Q: You seem like youíre in a really good frame mind. Can you pinpoint why and do you think youíre in a better frame of mind than some other training camps?
TB: Well, I think I try to be a very positive person and to lead by example and I donít want toÖeveryone deals with stuff on a daily basis; we all do. Everyone that standing here does and you try to put those things where they need to be and go to work and focus on your job and when you leave you deal with other parts of your life. Iím more content, I think, at this point in my life in learning how to deal with those situations and a lot of things that have happened in my life, you learn from and like I said, you use those as challenges. My boss always says, Ďevery bump is a bounceí and itís a very true statement. This team, when you lose games, you learn from them. In life, when things donít go the way you planned them, you learn from them, whether itís an injury or anything else.
Q: Whoís your boss?
TB: LRC. Lower right have corner of the paycheck.
Q: Speaking of bumps, are you going to retract your earlier denial of another baby on the way?
TB: Well, I heard Big Papi say, ĎI donít have all the information, but Iíll check backí, and you guys will be the first to know. I never hold anything back from you guys.
Q: How much do you feel for David Ortiz and the day that he had yesterday?
TB: From the opportunities that Iíve had to be around him, heís a wonderful person and all the guys on the Red Sox are great guys and we have a great sports community here. I used to go to those Red Sox games in my first couple years here and sit there on the third base line and loved cheering for them. It sucks for those guys and it sucks for the sport. In football, weíve been kind of immune to it, but no one likes to see that, especially guys that are in your town and you root for and you like the company, but theyíll put it behind them and get through it and move forward as we all do.