BOSTON (CBS) — It appears that the hits Tom Brady has taken this season are finally catching up to him.
Brady sat out the team’s rare Tuesday practice at Gillette Stadium, his first missed practice of the 2017 season. According to multiple reports, Brady is nursing a left shoulder injury he first sustained in New England’s Week 4 loss to Carolina on October 1 and re-aggravated in last Thursday’s win in Tampa Bay.
Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston reported Thursday that Brady underwent an MRI on the shoulder and results came back negative. The Patriots do not have to release a practice/injury report until Wednesday.
Brady discussed the importance of bracing himself for these big hits properly back on September 27, saying that he tries to land on his left shoulder more than his right.
“You do have to learn how to find the way down in a way that you’ll be able to get up and try to play the next play, especially with your right shoulder. I think for me more than anything I try to land more on my left shoulder than my right shoulder because you’ve only got one right shoulder and I need this for a lot of throws, and the more hits you take on it then the harder it is to take. I just do the best I can do. There’s some luck involved, but let’s go again, baby. Let’s line them up and play.”
The reigning Super Bowl MVP has taken 33 hits and 16 sacks in five games so far this season, including three sacks last Thursday against the Buccaneers in Tampa. He appeared to get up gingerly after some of the hits, as if he had been injured or was playing through an injury.
When asked during his Monday interview with Westwood One about the damage he has absorbed from opposing defenders, Brady blamed himself.
“I think that’s part of the conditioning that you do in the offseason, to prepare yourself for taking hits,” he said (via ESPN). “Some of those sacks, I’ve been holding on to the ball too long and I have to get rid of it. I think that’s decision-making.”
The hits and sacks have yet to adversely affect Brady’s performance on the field, as he is second in the NFL with a 112.0 passer rating and leads the league with 1,702 passing yards. But his absence on Tuesday as a small indication that the Patriots offensive line simply needs to improve its pass protection if they want to keep Brady on the field and playing at a high level throughout the season.