Former Michigan quarterback Brian Griese shared his early impressions of Tom Brady

"All of us in the locker room thought he was a going to be this surfer dude."

Tom Brady Michigan
Tom Brady during the spring game, April 18, 1997, at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. –AP Photo/The Ann Arbor News, John L. White

Former Michigan quarterback Brian Griese says his initial impression of a young Tom Brady was not too accurate.

“When I first met Tom, he had long hair to his shoulders and he had just come from California,” Griese told ESPN’s Adam Schefter in a podcast episode that aired Monday. “All of us in the locker room thought he was a going to be this surfer dude.”

Griese — who overlapped with Brady for two seasons in Ann Arbor — said the team expected Brady to be a “chill” and “laid-back” guy. They soon discovered, however, the complete opposite was actually true. Brady’s discipline and intensity were evident from the start, despite his low positioning on the quarterback depth chart.


“He came in with the work ethic that you see today,” Griese told Schefter. “Tommy just came in, and he was methodical.”

During Michigan’s national championship run in 1997, Brady played in only four games and completed 12 passes for 103 yards. But his limited action didn’t discourage him from logging extra sessions after practice.

“He would take the script, he and Scot Loeffler, and they would run through the entire practice together,” Griese said. “Tommy would grab a couple freshmen receivers, and they would go through every play, every adjustment, and every blitz. They’d be out there for an hour after everybody else was gone off the field.”

“I had gone in and taken a shower, done a couple of interviews,” he continued. “I’m leaving, and there’s Tommy out on the field running through the whole script. There was no question in anybody’s mind, I don’t think, pretty early on that Tommy was going to be a success.”

While Griese said he knew Brady was going to be successful, he admitted nobody knew he was going be a five-time Super Bowl champion with several NFL records to his name. After all, the scouting reports were harsh on his speed and mobility.


“Tommy did have the physical limitations that everybody looked at when he came out — the reasons why he was a sixth-round draft pick,” Griese said. “[With his] mental toughness and the heart, there was nobody who was going to outwork him.”