Brady avoids the rush

QB focusing on new season, not contract

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By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / July 31, 2010

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FOXBOROUGH — Tom Brady is an icon, a brand unto himself, which happens when you have three Super Bowl rings and a league most valuable player award in your trophy case.

So Brady is smart enough to know the right things to say in a situation where there are cameras trained on him and microphones within inches of his photo-ready face.

That is why it sometimes important to look at what the Patriots’ franchise quarterback doesn’t say.

Take yesterday: Brady held court with the media for nearly 15 minutes after the Patriots’ morning session and was inevitably asked about his contract situation.

Brady didn’t say he was stark-raving mad about the lack of an extension, and really, it would have been shocking if he had.

But he didn’t say all is well either.

Asked about reports that he is unhappy with the only professional organization he has known, Brady said, “My personal feelings are my personal feelings. I don’t want to express them with anyone except for a very few people. It doesn’t do any good. It doesn’t help this team. It doesn’t help the organization.

“Everyone’s got a different situation, a different approach, and they have to do what works for them. . . . I’ve got to do what’s comfortable for me. I’ve always tried to do that.”

That was followed by a question asking Brady — who again stated a desire to play another 10 years — if he wants to finish his career as a Patriot.

“Certainly, that’s everybody’s goal. That’s Troy Brown’s goal. That’s Tedy Bruschi’s goal,” he said, naming two former teammates who played their entire careers in New England. “At the same time, I know that I’m playing this year, hopefully. We’ve still got five weeks before final cuts. It’s my responsibility to come out and earn a job and do the best that I can do. That’s really where my focus is.”

Perhaps because he will always view himself as the 199th pick in the 2000 draft and not as just about the only lock on the Patriots’ roster, Brady several times mentioned working to win a job, and that he feels lucky to be able to get paid to play football.

He appealed to the masses and showed why some have him tabbed as a future politician when he mentioned it being “an interesting time in the world” and that it is important to realize that he has a job, and one that he loves. The sentiment when professional athletes get into contract squabbles is that they’re “bitching about making millions of dollars,” Brady said, but he feels there isn’t much to gripe about.

Yet Brady has been raised in the Patriot Way, and perhaps no one knows better than he that few players get to stay Patriots forever. He has seen friends such as Lawyer Milloy, Deion Branch, and Richard Seymour all traded or released when the decision had been made to move on from them.

While it may seem impossible to consider New England moving on from Brady, he knows it is possible.

“You see a lot of guys come and go. And the reality is that this is business,’’ he said. “We don’t play forever and we certainly don’t sign for 30 years. This sport is based on a revolving system of players that are in and out with free agency, something that the union fought hard for over the years.

“Players have the opportunity to move [from] teams. Teams have the opportunity to cut players. It’s just what happens. Early on it used to really bother me. It still bothers me to a degree, but you understand that’s what this profession is all about.

“It’s a great game. It’s a very popular game. I love playing. And also, realizing that what happened a few years ago with getting injured, to be out here for this year is what’s really important for me. You can say ‘I want to do this and this and this,’ but at the same time you are not guaranteed anything. You’re not guaranteed that I’ll start the season. You’re not guaranteed that I’ll make it through the next day of practice. When you look out and see the kind of physical nature that this sport is, nobody’s guaranteed anything.”

Brady made it through his Q&A session (for the record, he’s still sporting a Justin Bieber-like uber-bang), and addressed a couple of other issues surrounding his team before heading back to the solace of the locker room.

On the organization: “I’ve always been privileged to play for Coach [Bill] Belichick, who I’ve always said is the best coach in the history of the league. And Mr. [Robert] Kraft, I have a great relationship with him.’’

On Wes Welker’s recovery from ACL surgery: “Wes is the toughest player I’ve ever been around. He’s all heart. When you are his size, he’s had to fight his whole career. Nothing really surprises me with him. He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever played with. It’ll be really fun when he gets back out here with us because it adds a whole different dimension to the offense when he’s out there.”

On Logan Mankins’s contract impasse: “Logan has been a great player for this team and a great representative of the organization. He’s a great player. We miss him, there’s no doubt. . . . We’re hoping that at some point this situation gets resolved, but in the meantime, we’ve got to go out there and do our job.”

On Belichick removing glory-days photos from the walls: “I think that’s a good point by him. A lot of people always want to sit back and reflect. It’s important. You always learn from the past . . . You also understand that any of the things that have happened in the past are certainly not going to help this year. And that goes not only for this team, but every team in the league. Every team starts fresh. As much as you’d like for there to be carryover every year, every year is a completely new year with new challenges. We’ve got plenty of them.”

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