NEW YORK — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady finally addressed his decision to be the lead plaintiff in the former union’s lawsuit against the NFL. Brady said today he is trying to be part of the solution and not part of the problem in the NFL’s labor dispute.
“I’m always trying to figure out what the right thing is,” said Brady, following an Under Armour promotional appearance here. “Look, I’ve been very fortunate as a player to sign the contracts that I’ve signed to be in the position that I’m in as a leader. That’s because of Boomer Esiason, who was the lead plaintiff in 1987. So, all the work that he fought for for the current players it’s really a lasting legacy that Boomer has had.
“When the opportunity is presented to me and someone like Peyton [Manning] and Drew Brees, who are also very notable players in the league, we represent the entire group. I think we’re all trying to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. I think that’s the important thing to realize.
“We’re trying to bring reason and compromise to a very challenging agreement. This is not something that is easy. There is a lot that goes into it. I know a lot of people are hard at work. DeMaurice Smith has had a lot of meetings with Roger Goodell. I know Mr. Kraft is heavily involved. Everyone is trying to accomplish the same thing. Hopefully, there is an agreement at some point soon.”
Brady also said that his right foot is feeling good more than three months removed from the surgery he had to repair a stress fracture in the foot. Brady, who said he was throwing two days ago, had the surgery on Jan. 20 at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“I feel good,” said Brady. “I feel like anybody who has had surgery and had to go through rehabilitation. We still got a long time until football season starts, and I’m just working my way back. I’m trying to get out there and throw as much as I can, and work out as much as I can. That’s what it takes.”
Brady was at Chelsea Piers to meet with 25 lucky fans as part of a promotional event for Under Armour, the athletic apparel and footwear company that Brady is now an endorser for and has an equity stake in as part of the deal. The event was billed as the Under Armour Tom Brady Draft Chat.
Brady was asked by the fans about the selection of left tackle Nate Solder with the team’s No. 1 pick last night. Brady told the fans that “picking an offensive lineman, that always makes a quarterback happy,” but also expressed his admiration for incumbent left tackle Matt Light.
“There is nobody that I love more than Matt Light,” Brady told the assembled fans. “He’s been on my left side for 10 years. He is an incredible player, tough, hard-nosed and a three-time Super Bowl champion.”
Afterwards, Brady spoke with the media, which is where he addressed the lawsuit, his foot, the selection of Solder and Rex Ryan’s hatred for him.
Do you know anything about Nate Solder?
“Just the video I saw on the screen last night. Look, it’s hard for a rookie to come in and play a big role. Those rookies have a lot to learn, not only learning the playbook, but learning what it means to be a professional player. This is your job now. He’s going to be yelled at probably more than anybody on the field. I’m looking forward to that because [offensive line coach] Dante Scarnecchia yells at his offensive linemen and he gets the best out of them. He was pretty happy last night I saw. He might not be so happy come the start of training camp.”
Have you organized any workouts?
“Yeah, we’re always in touch. You kind of leave it up to the veteran guys to make contact with some of the younger players and coordinate workouts and so forth. Hopefully, [the ruling on a stay of Judge Nelson’s decision] brings a little more clarity whether it’s today or Monday, what’s actually going to happen. It would make things easier for players if we were actually able to go down and throw at the stadium, instead of figuring out what high school you’re going to.”
When did you hear about Judge Susan Nelson’s decision to lift the lockout?
“It was late at night, I was sleeping, I didn’t get it until Tuesday morning. So, I think there’s a lot to be done. So, I don’t think it’s one decision. I think that the players are excited we can go in and work out and have contact with the coaches. But beyond that, I think there’s still a lot of work to be done.”
On Rex Ryan saying in his upcoming book that Brady is the most hated man in America?
“As long as he hates me I’m cool. He is the leader of that team. The players take after their coach. They’ve had successful postseasons, getting to the AFC Championship game. I’m sure we’ll be prepared to play them when we do.”