BOSTON (CBS) — He’s baaaaaack.

No. 12 was back on the Patriots practice field on Wednesday for the first time since the final week of the preseason, after serving his four-game suspension for his accused role in a scheme to take some air out of some footballs one day in January 2015.

“DeflateGate” itself may have been a sideshow, but Tom Brady’s return to the practice field represented a return to normalcy for the Patriots.

Suffice it to say, his teammates are happy to have him back.

“He looks great — tan, happy, pumped, and we’re all really excited to get to work,” receiver Danny Amendola said.

“He’s the leader of our offense. He’s a great player, and it’s exciting to get TB back, man,” said tight end Rob Gronkowski. “It’s just like any other week, except Tom’s back at quarterback, baby.”

Brady didn’t speak to the media on Wednesday and likely won’t be heard from until after Sunday’s game. But aside from the morale boost he’s providing, he’s providing some stability in a quarterback position that’s been a bit in flux in his absence. Jimmy Garoppolo played well for six quarters before suffering a shoulder injury in Week 2. Rookie Jacoby Brissett appeared to be a capable NFL quarterback in finishing the Week 2 win and playing a solid-if-not-flashy game in the Week 3 win over the Texans. But he looked very much like a rookie running a condensed NFL offense in Week 4, when the Patriots were shut out by the Bills.

Considering Brady’s experience not only with the offense but with most of the individuals in that offense, it’s safe to believe the Patriots can hit the ground running with Brady on Sunday in Cleveland.


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