Tom Brady hasn’t been at voluntary offseason workouts yet, but his arm looked as good as ever on Friday night.
The Patriots quarterback took the field at Harvard Stadium as part of the 20th Annual Best Buddies Challenge, a two-day charity event that continued on Saturday with a charity run, walk, and bicycle ride in Hyannis Port. Best Buddies International, a nonprofit founded in 1989, raises funds to “enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” according to its website.
A mix of current and former Patriots played the charity game alongside Brady, including wide receiver Julian Edelman, running back James White, offensive linemen Marcus Cannon, Joe Thuney and Ted Karras, backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, long snapper Joe Cardona, and retired players Troy Brown, Christian Fauria, and Dan Koppen.
Other notables to take the field included Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Best Buddies International founder and CEO Anthony Kennedy Shriver, and Davio’s restaurant group owner Steve DiFillippo, who made an impressive one-handed catch to pick off Brady in the first half. Celebrity chef Guy Fieri, who announced on Thursday that he will be opening a restaurant in Boston, stood watching on the sidelines while his son Hunter caught passes from Brady.
Brady played quarterback for both the white and blue teams in a high-scoring affair, completing screen passes and checkdowns to the many young children playing in the game. Brady also showed off his chemistry with Edelman, tossing a 75-yard touchdown to his trusted wideout early in the game. Brady connected with White as well, with the running back making a toe-tapping catch along the sidelines before taking the last few steps into the end zone.
At halftime, White joked with reporters about Edelman’s high-energy effort during the charity game.
“He’s always running faster than everybody out there, but that’s Julian,” White said. “He has a good time out there, and the fans love him.”
White also discussed next week’s minicamp, when Brady will have a chance to throw to his new offensive weapons for the first time, including rookie receiver N’Keal Harry.
“It’s the start of building that team camaraderie, seeing what this team’s all about, trying to find your role in the team,” White said. “It’s extra time to get better, and that’s what it’s all about.”
As the game continued, guests filtered into the Guy Cooking with Best Buddies Celebrity Chef Food and Wine Festival next door, where more than a dozen restaurants, bakeries, and shops provided nourishment. While Fieri and DiFillippo were busy over on the field, notable culinary figures including Legal Sea Foods executive chef Richard Vellante and Brady’s personal chef Allen Campbell passed out bite-sized dishes.
The game finished up at 7:45 p.m., with the blue team beating the white team 80-72. After the game, Brady awarded best catch to DiFillippo for his one-handed interception, saying that the restaurateur “won’t ever let me live that down.” Meanwhile, Brady awarded the biggest drop of the night to Karras.
“He actually had two of them, I’m embarrassed to say,” Brady said. “But fortunately he’s not a receiver.”