BOSTON (CBS) – New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will turn 35 before the 2012 NFL season begins, but he is making it clear he is not there yet.
“I don’t know, I’m not 35,” he said when asked how he views things differently the ripe old age.
Brady won’t hit that mark until early August, but he has certainly picked up a thing or two as he gets set for his 13th season in the NFL.
“I appreciate it every day,” he said. “One thing my injury taught me a few years ago was how fragile this game is and to be able to take the field every week is really a blessing. Maybe at 34 I feel a little differently in that sense. I love it just as much now as I ever have. I love being out here for the OTAs. When I was 25 I was probably (complaining) about the OTAs, but when you’re 34 you’re not.”
Brady and the Patriots have been going at it for nearly two weeks now in their organized team activities, giving everyone a chance to get re-acquainted, or acquainted, before training camp starts in July.
For Brady, he has a slew of new receivers to familiarize himself with. Brandon Lloyd is aboard after splitting last season with the Rams and Broncos. The Patriots also brought back a pair of players Brady already has experience throwing to in Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney. They join Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Julian Edelman and Chad Ochocinco in the crop of receivers that will be fighting to haul in passes from #12.
And these OTAs are a great way to get it all started.
“We brought in quite a few guys. Hopefully the mix of guys we had last year and the new guys can create some different options for us,” said Brady. “It’s a very competitive position; all the days of practice have been very competitive. It will help out defense out; it will help our offense out.”
“If everyone isn’t on the same page, it doesn’t work. A lot of what these practices are about is everyone getting on the same page,” he added. “You have a lot of new guys from other teams, rookies, and the faster we can get up to speed and work together as a unit the better team we are going to be.”
Also returning is Josh McDaniels, who will take over as Offensive Coordinator for the departed Bill O’Brien. While Brady will miss O’Brien’s tutelage from the sidelines, he’s glad to have a familiar face in his spot.
“Billy was a great. He was a great coach and I certainly miss him. At the same time it’s nice having the familiarity with Josh in that role,” said Brady, who put together a record-setting season with McDaniels as his OC in 2007. “I really enjoy him and we’ve had a great working relationship for a very long time. It’s good to see him out there and work together; it’s been a fun spring.”
“His competitiveness is still there; his willingness to do whatever it takes to win is still there,” Brady said of McDaniels. “He loves football, I think that’s why we get along so well.”
Of course, the ending of last season was brought up as well. While another Super Bowl loss will likely stick with the Brady for the rest of his life, he has moved on from that disappointing night in Indianapolis.
“That’s part of the offseason and part of learning as a player. Hopefully you get a chance to be in that position again. But at this point we’ve tried to move on, and you look to see what this season is going to be about,” Brady said. “It’s a different group of players, different coaches, a little different system; you’re trying to put together a team that can go out and compete every single week.”
“You don’t look back too much in the past and say ‘what if, what if,’ you’d drive yourself crazy,” he said. “At some point you have to put it in the past and move on.”