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Brady addresses contract status

QB and team still apart on new deal

WASHINGTON -- On a day when the Patriots took time to celebrate the past -- another Super Bowl victory -- quarterback Tom Brady expressed some concern about the future -- a new contract.

"I'd love to be here for the rest of my career, but it's not entirely my decision," said Brady, who was the most valuable player of New England's first two Super Bowl wins and guided the team to its third title in four years last February with a victory over Philadelphia.

During Super Bowl week, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the team knew how valuable Brady, the former sixth-round pick, had been to the team and that his status would be addressed in the offseason.

Since that win over the Eagles, however, the Patriots and Brady's agent, Donald Yee, haven't been able to agree on a new deal.

Brady is scheduled to make $5.5 million next season, which seems a bargain for the Patriots compared with recent extensions signed by marquee quarterbacks Michael Vick (10 years, $130 million), Peyton Manning (seven years, $98 million), and Donovan McNabb (12 years, $115 million).

"I have two years on my contract and I plan to honor that," said Brady, who took the afternoon off from a week in New York getting ready for "Saturday Night Live" to join his teammates at the White House to be honored by President Bush. "I signed a contract three years ago for five years, and I'll be here through 2006."

As he readied for Super Bowl XXXIX, Brady was asked about his contract situation relative to Manning's deal and said, "Anybody who chooses to play on the Patriots realizes that that goal supersedes any player goal. You have to make decisions whether you want to be part of this team or not. You're going to have to make sacrifices like everyone on this team makes sacrifices to fit into the grand structure of what the team is trying to accomplish.

"I know what's important to me and I know where my priorities lie, and when that decision comes up, I'll make a decision based on what's most important to me."

Under his current contract, Brady would count $10 million against the salary cap, but the team has been busy making other moves in the offseason.

Running back Corey Dillon, whom the Patriots acquired last season and who had a terrific season, recently agreed to a five-year deal that would guarantee him two seasons for a total of $10 million.

The team also released defensive back Ty Law ($12.5 million in cap value) and wide receiver Troy Brown ($5.7 million on the cap).

Those moves will give the Patriots more flexibility, but the outlook for a Brady extension soon doesn't look as rosy as the team's appearance in the Rose Garden.

"If anything changes, we have to come to an agreement, and we're not there," Brady said.

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