By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — This summer, Antonio Brown has been at the center of every story about NFL players adjusting to new helmets. Though last year’s tale was slightly less melodramatic and involved one fewer retirement threat, a similar tale nevertheless followed Tom Brady.READ MORE: Mother, Man Arrested In Investigation Into Missing New Hampshire 5-Year-Old Elijah Lewis
Last year, Brady was put on notice that his beloved helmet model was being sent out to pasture. Knowing that he’d have just one season left in his old trustworthy dome protector, Brady tried out a space-age model through the summer and into the season. After two of the Patriots’ first three losses, though, Brady switched back to his old helmet. And the second time he changed, he changed for good, riding the old model all the way to a sixth Super Bowl title.
This year, Brady has no choice, as his old Riddell helmet model has officially been pushed into obsolescence by a league that cares deeply about player safety and also listens to doctors and scientists who have stated time and time again that increasing helmet technology cannot magically protect brains from bouncing around inside of players’ skulls.
Ah, but nevertheless.
When it comes to that change, Brady is still adapting, as he shared in a private conversation with NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran.
“I’ve been wearing the same thing for a long time. Been wearing the same thing for … you know, forever,” Brady said on Quick Slants The Podcast. “So you get used to one thing, one feel. This is a pound heavier. So it’s 25 percent heavier on your head, so it takes a lot of getting used to.”
Brady said he hoped to make the helmet lighter, but he was unable to do so. As such, the adjustment process continues.READ MORE: 'My Daughter Doesn't Feel Safe': Parents, Teachers Raise Concerns About Violence At Lawrence High School
“I mean, add 25 percent to everything. Add 25 percent to your pen, or 25 percent smaller keys on your keyboard, and you tell me how that feels,” Brady said to Curran. “It’s a little different.”
In an interesting development, Curran revealed that Brady’s actually worn the same exact set of shoulderpads since 1995.
“That was my first year at Michigan. So the fall of ’95, they gave me those. And then when I left college, I took them with me and then just used them here,” Brady said of his trusty Douglas pads.
Considering those pads have traveled the world to accompany Brady wherever he goes, the pads have obviously required some reconditioning. But as Brady told Curran, “That’s the same plastic, and they definitely haven’t changed those. Same size.”
So, as Brady enters Year 20 in the NFL, at least he’s got one piece of equipment that still feels comfortable.
(You can expect the NFL to announce a ban on all 1995 shoulder pads any moment now.)MORE NEWS: How Colin Powell Made An Impact In Massachusetts