FOXBORO (CBS) — When a fresh-faced, 22-year-old Tom Brady showed up for his first Patriots training camp in 2000, the quarterback approached his new life as a professional with the goal of getting better each day and competing hard to earn a job on the team.
Twelve years, three Super Bowls and several passing records later, not much has changed.
“I’m competing just like everybody else,” Brady told reporters over the weekend after practice at Gillette Stadium. “I’m competing for my role and my spot and trying to be a good leader and trying to set a good example as a quarterback. I think that’s my challenge: to come out here every day and bring everything that I have to try to make us a better team.”
The urgency with which Brady stresses his job competition might suggest he’s in the midst of an intense roster battle, yet that’s obviously not the case. While Brian Hoyer is a reliable backup for the Patriots, and second-year quarterback Ryan Mallett shows some promise for the future, neither are a threat to take even one meaningful snap from Brady for the foreseeable future. Still Brady, fresh off his 35th birthday, suggested that there’s simply no other way to approach every day of practice than to fight for your job.
“That’s exactly right. That’s how you’ve got to approach it. You can’t take anything for granted out here,” he said. “You never know when your last snap is going to be, so you’ve got to come out here every day and work as hard as you can.”
Just because Brady is wary of when his final snap may be, he said he’s hopeful it won’t come for a very long time.
“I want to play a long time,” he said before quickly shifting focus back to the present. “I think the reality is we’re focused on this year and there’s no season other than this season that I’m worried about.”
He still admitted he hopes to play beyond the age of 40.
“[Vinny Testaverde and Doug Flutie] were great teammates and I certainly learned a lot from them in terms of how to play the position and how to prepare mentally and physically for the season,” Brady said when asked about his former veteran backups. “Both were great athletes and I really enjoyed having them as guys that I could play with. I’m a long ways from 42 and hopefully I’m still talking to you guys when I’m 42.”