For a man who’s trying to put all his focus back on the football field in preparation for Thursday night’s season opener, Tom Brady had plenty to say about the Deflategate saga, his relationship with his wife Gisele, his longtime friendship with presidential candidate Donald Trump, the courtroom sketch artist, and more in a wide-ranging radio interview Tuesday.
Right out of the gate during the first installment of Brady’s weekly Q&A session on WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan show’’ on Tuesday, the Patriots star quarterback was asked if he agreed with his father, who on a San Francisco radio station over the weekend called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a “flaming liar.’’
“Well, I love my dad,’’ Brady said. “Like any protective father, certainly as a dad with three kids now, it gets pretty emotional. He’s been a great support my entire life and I’m sure it’s been hard for him, for my mom, for everyone in my family. Just like it’s been for me, and for everyone involved. It’s just been a tough, challenging seven months but I think it will be pretty exciting to run out there Thursday night with my teammates and I think they’ll be pretty excited too.’’
Brady played it down the middle when asked if he’s been angry about the charges levied on him by the NFL over and the events that have dragged out for the past seven and a half months.
“There’s a lot of different emotions that I went through and those were all at different points in different circumstances,’’ Brady said. “I kind of took them as they come. I faced obviously different adversities in my life, different challenges. And you just kind of rely on those experiences and you rely on a lot of people that are around you for the support. This has been a different type of challenge in my life. I think it’s been a different type of obstacle to overcome but I think sometimes in life you think that the hardest times in you life are the things that you learn from the most.
“So sometimes you wonder if you go through hard times if those end up being bad things. I think the things that have probably shaped who I am, what I believe about myself and my character and so forth, those have been the harder things I’ve gone through in my life and not necessarily winning games or things that you might think are part of the enjoyment or motivation. I’d say it’s probably being a backup quarterback on an 0-and-8 freshman team. Probably being the seventh quarterback on the depth chart. Barely being drafted and having to fight to be a pro player and to be a fourth quarterback on the roster here. I think those are the things that probably I reflect on that [shows] how I’ve developed these kind of personal character traits that I’m proud of and you rely on those experiences for the things that you’ll face going forward.’’
Brady said the book, The Four Agreements, helped him get through the ordeal.
“I think there’s definitely moments where you’re vulnerable about certain things,’’ Brady said. “I read a pretty cool book about nine years ago that’s kind of a mantra for my life and one of the mantras in the book is ‘Don’t take things personal.’ But a lot of times it’s not about you, it how others may feel about themselves and not necessarily about me personally, Tom Brady. Because I don’t think that a lot of people know personally who I am. They may know what they think I may be or what they see on the TV screen when I’m exposed publicly to them but my own personal thoughts, my own how the interactions I have with the people closest to me, my family, my friends, and so forth. I think those people know me best.’’
Brady kept his feelings in check when pressed to respond to the theory that Deflategate was a set-up between the Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, and the NFL, who worked together to conspire against him.
“I’ve got a lot of personal feelings about things and I think to get into every conversation that everybody want to have in a way I’ve had a lot of these conversations with different people over seven months,’’ Brady said. “You get kind of brought back into those emotions and those haven’t been the best emotions and they certainly don’t serve me as quarterback of the New England Patriots this week, so I’ve got to put whatever feelings I have aside and I’ve got to go out and do my job.’’
Brady was asked if he had any regrets over the course of the process, including the destruction of his mobile phone.
“That’s a tough question,’’ Brady said after a long pause. “And like I said, those are pretty personal. I’m sorry that whatever’s happened has taken the focus away from my team and what we’ve accomplished last year. It should have been a very joyus offseason, and I’m sure it was for a lot of people and certainly it was for me at different times.’’
Do you want Patriots staffers Jim McNally and John Jastremski back with team?
“Of course,’’ Brady said of the two team employees suspended indefinitely by the Patriots. “Of course none of those things are my decisions but I feel terrible for what they’ve been put through, what their family’s been put through. I know what my family’s been put through and what’s happened. I just feel terrible that they’re not with the team.’’
Brady was not willing to confirm that he was considering taking a one-game suspension during the settlement talks.
“There was a lot of negotiation back and forth,’’ Brady said. “We had five separate settlement conferences with the league to try to avoid what’s happened at this point, which is that it continues. At different points there were a lot of different things that came up so I think I was advised not to talk about those things so I’m going to listen to the advice and not talk about them.’’
As far as the bevy of media reports on the Deflategate during the offseason, Brady said he stayed away from most of it.
“I did my best to try to avoid tuning into different things,’’ Brady said. “I’ll tell you what I watched. I watched a lot of European soccer. I don’t watch a lot of TV, usually when I do it’s a lot of sports so European soccer was probably a good outlet for me.’’
While the four-time Super Bowl champion was careful in sharing his thoughts about the events that have captivated the country since January, Brady said he may address the situation in greater detail down the road.
“There’s definitely different moments where I felt a lot of different things so it definitely had its challenges, so I’ll leave it at that,’’ Brady said. “Maybe I’ll elaborate later at a later time, but right now, two days before our season starts I don’t think this is really the time. I think it’s best to focus my energy and my teammates enerbgy on the at task at hand.’’
Brady surprisingly addressed various reports from entertainment industry publications speculating about his relationship with his wife Gisele.
“We’re in a great place, I’ll just say that,’’ Brady said. “I’m a lucky man, very blessed with support from my family and certainly here and there’s no bigger supporter than I have then her and vice-versa. I’ve been very blessed to have an incredible relationship with my life partner and I don’t think anything will ever get in the way of that.’’
Brady was also asked about his relationship with Donald Trump after a baseball cap with the controversial presidential candidate’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again’’ on the brim was spotted in his locker at Gillette Stadium over the weekend.
“He sent it to me via [Robert Kraft],’’ Brady said. “I’ve know him since 2002 when I judged one of his beauty pageant. Imagine that, I was a judge at a Miss USA pageant in 2002. So, I’ve know him for a long time and he always gives me a call on different types of motivational speeches at different times. Now that he’s running for president he sent me a hat and he gave it to RKK a couple of weeks ago so it found its way to my locker.’’
Brady wouldn’t go as far as saying he would vote for Trump in the upcoming presidential election.
“I don’t know. Am I going to vote for him? That’s a good question,’’ Brady said. “He’s a good friend and we’ve had a lot of time on the golf course together over the years probably not as much recently but in my younger days when I would have more time that I could spend doing those type of things before there were kids, we spent a lot of times golfing together and so forth. It’s pretty amazing what he’s been able to accomplish as an enterepreneur, and then really as a television star, and now running for political office. People who can do those types of things and can transition into different arenas and still have that type of appeal and carryover, he’s obviously appealing to a lot of people and he’s a hell of a lot of fun to play golf with.’’
Brady even addressed the infamous courtroom sketch he was asked to sign after the initial appearance in federal court.
“When [courtroom sketch artist Jane Rosenberg] came over to me and she said, ‘Can you sign it?’ I was a little taken off guard because I said ‘Is this like an official … I wasn’t quite sure, I had never been in a court room before,’’ Brady said. “Yeah, I did sign it. It certainly got a lot of runs, so hopefully she sold it and made a few bucks from it.’’
You can listen to the full Brady interview on WEEI here.
Tom Brady through the years: