By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The onset of Tom Brady’s four-week suspension is rapidly approaching, and though the veteran quarterback has never been in this position before, he’s doing his best to adapt.
“I’m pretty positive, so I’m going to use these days the best way that I possibly can,” Brady told reporters on Tuesday. “So I’ll try to get ready and do everything I can so I can be at my best when I get the opportunity to play in October. I’ve tried to just find different ways to be positive. It is what it is at this point, so we’ll just do the best we can do.”
One place where Brady can find a positive is in the NFL’s decision to allow Brady to work with his trainer, Alex Guerrero, who also works with other players on the team.
Brady offered a brief, sarcastic celebration when asked about that.
“Well, that’s nice of them,” Brady said of the NFL.
Brady will be with the team this week until Saturday, when he’ll be banned from the Patriots’ facility until the day after the team’s Week 4 game against the Bills on Oct. 2. During that time, he won’t be allowed to have contact with the coaches, and he won’t even be allowed to play catch with his teammates.
As for getting on the actual field one last time before the suspension kicks in, Brady said he’s hopeful to play in the Patriots’ final preseason tune-up on Thursday night in New Jersey. What began as discussion about the preseason game then evolved into somewhat of a love letter to the game of football — a theme that would continue throughout the nearly nine-minute press conference.
“My goal is to come back and be the best I can be, just like every other year, every other offseason. I’m going to do the best I can do over these next, however many days, 30 days or so, to do the same thing,” he said. “I’ve got another — hopefully — opportunity to play again on Thursday night, and then I’ll be with the team Friday, and then, you know, try to do the best I can over the next month to stay sharp.
“It’s always up to Coach Belichick. I wish I’d play every game,” Brady added. “I mean, I love playing. I love playing in practice, I love playing in preseason games, regular season games, postseason games. I love thinking about football. It’s just the way it is. So, I’ll be, that part will be very challenging, watching those games in September. But I’ll find ways to preoccupy my mind.”
With Brady under the microscope for just about everything these days, it’s come into question whether Brady naturally feels threatened by Jimmy Garoppolo taking the snaps for four weeks. Brady explained what his mind-set will be during those long four weeks away from the Patriots.
“Well, we’ve got a lot of great leaders on this team. The veterans, I think we’ve got a lot of really good players, a lot of really good leaders. I think we’ve always done a good job cultivating guys to step in and fill the void. And I think we’ll do a great job of that,” Brady said. “Between our coaches and our players, we’ve got a lot of great leaders, and I’m very confident in that. So we’ll go out there and we’ll play with a lot of energy and emotion like we always do. It’ll be tough to watch. It’ll be fun to watch in some ways to see what it looks like when you’re not there, because it’s a different perspective. And then, hopefully I can use that perspective and then come back with better perspective and say, ‘Wow, I really noticed some things that maybe I wouldn’t have seen had I been there.’ So that’s kind of what I’m going to try to do.”
Brady said he personally learned a lot from the veteran quarterbacks on the roster in his first two years, including John Friesz, Damon Huard, and of course Drew Bledsoe. The theme of his love of the sport returned.
“[Learning and improving is] easy to do when you love what you do, and I’ve always been blessed to love this sport and love the preparation of this sport as much as I have. It never really feels like work, so it’s always a learning experience. I’m still learning every day that I go out there,” Brady said. “That’s why people love the sport. That’s why I love the sport — because it’s always so challenging. And it’s very humbling, too, because it’s incredibly difficult to perform at a high level every day, and you’ve gotta push yourself and find different ways to motivate yourself over the course of long periods of time. It’s easy if you just change what you did every year. Everything would feel fresh all the time, but when you’ve been doing it for 17 years professionally and then nine years, I’ve been doing it for 25 years. So I’ve got to keep finding ways to retool and learn and use things as motivation.”
Asked specifically if his relationship with Garoppolo is at all similar to the one between Bledsoe and Brady back in 2000 and 2001, Brady didn’t really have an answer. He chose instead to simply lend his support to Garoppolo.
“I have no idea. I mean, we’re totally on different ends of the spectrum. I love being with Jimmy. I’ve enjoyed every day that we’ve spent with him,” Brady said. “I wish him the very best, obviously, for our team, for him personally. When you see people that it means a lot to, you always want them to succeed as well. And it’ll be tough to watch, but I’ll be excited to watch and excited to learn. Then hopefully when I come back in October, I’ll be a better player than I am today.”