BOSTON (CBS) — The name Tom Brady and the number 12 will forever be attached. That’s in part due to all of the accomplishments Brady has turned in during his Hall of Fame career, and in part due to his own “TB12” brand.

The name and the number have become so synonymous that it’s difficult to imagine a world where TB is not followed by 12. But according to Brady, it all could have been very different.

“Wasn’t really my choice. I was 10 in college, and when I got here, Lee Johnson was 10. So whatever number was on my locker — which was 12 — that was the one that [former Patriots equipment manager] Don Brocher gave me.”

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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during his Michigan days. (Photo by Harry How /Allsport)

The Patriots released Johnson during the 2001 season, three weeks after Brady had assumed the starting role following Drew Bledsoe’s injury. At that point, Brady felt it was too late to switch jerseys — even though he wanted to.

“I wore that my first year and then we released Lee, and I thought about going back to 10. But I just stuck with 12,” Brady said.

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Drew Bledsoe, Tom Brady in 2001 (Photo by John Mottern/AFP/Getty Images)

Suffice it to say, the marriage of Brady and 12 has worked out nicely.

“There’s a lot of great quarterbacks who have worn it. It’s kind of a pretty typical quarterback number,” Brady said. “But it’s worked pretty well for me, so I’m glad they gave me that when I first got here. It’s had a lot of good games in it, a lot of great wins.”

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Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Brady (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The number 10 has gone on to be worn by a number of Patriots players since 2001, including Jimmy Garoppolo, Jabar Gaffney, and Austin Collie. It’s currently being worn by Josh Gordon.


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