Tom Brady: Public opinion ‘bothered me a lot more a long time ago’

The quarterback talks about how he handles criticism in the fifth episode of 'Tom vs. Time.'

Tom Brady New England Patriots
Tom Brady is introduced during Super Bowl 52 Opening Night. – AP Photo/Eric Gay

Tom Brady is a seasoned pro when it comes to tuning out the chatter that seems to constantly follow him and the Patriots, but it hasn’t always been easy, the quarterback details in the next episode of his docu-series, “Tom vs. Time.”

“Being a public figure and having people say things about you, it bothered me a lot more a long time ago,” Brady said in the fifth episode, which is scheduled to be released Sunday. “Now after 17 years of it, I have healthy boundaries.”

From Deflategate to the controversy surrounding his “body engineer”/trainer, Alex Guerrero, Brady’s career in New England has seen no shortage of drama. The 40-year-old doesn’t feel the need to address external commentary, however, because “the people who know [him] know who [he is].”

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“I’m not going to defend everything someone may say — positive or negative,” he told series’ director Gotham Chopra. “I feel like I just have a belief in who I am. I kind of chart my own course and then I live [the] life I want to live — being physically fit, emotionally stable, and spiritually sound.

“I know what my motivations are, and it’s not to satisfy other people,” he continued. “It’s to satisfy myself. And if I satisfy myself, I’m good. I really am. I feel good. I’m going to live a very purposeful life. I want to create change and positivity in a big way, and I want to do that being who I am. People will find negative things to say about that, absolutely, but I’m just going to keep charting my own course.”

The five-time Super Bowl champion said he believes that responding once can trigger an endless cycle.

“I don’t want to go into that mud every day because I know once I engage I’ll have to re-engage, and I don’t like fighting,” he said. “That creates inner conflict in me. I do need to protect myself. If I’m putting my energy out in 20 different places and areas, then I don’t get to be who I want to be.”

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As he’s grown older, Brady said he’s gained more perspective, which has allowed him to prioritize accordingly.

“You know what’s important. You know what’s not important,” he said. “I’m not putting time or energy in things that I know are not important, even though a lot of people may say, ‘Man, this is really important!’ I’m like, ‘No, it’s not. That’s not important at all.’ I’m going to determine what’s important to me.”