By JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — A day after complaining on social media that there were too many penalties in the game he was watching on TV, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady tried to make nice with the NFL referees.
“I’m very pro-ref,” Brady said in the New England locker room on Friday.
Brady was tweeting a different story on Thursday night, when Tennessee and Jacksonville were flagged 15 times in the first half, starting on the very first play from scrimmage. After Titans linebacker Kamalei Correa was called for roughing the passer in the second quarter, Brady posted on Twitter: “Too many penalties. Just let us play!!!!”
A few minutes later, he added in a tweet that has been liked 122,300 times by Friday afternoon: “I’m turning off this game I can’t watch these ridiculous penalties anymore.” Even broadcaster Troy Aikman seemed to agree with Brady.
Asked about it on Friday, Brady maintained he wasn’t criticizing the officials.
“The refs always do a good job. I never complain to the refs,” he told reporters crowding around his locker. “You guys ever hear me complain to the refs?”
He then added that maybe he has, but only in the heat of the moment.
The backtracking by one of the NFL’s biggest stars makes sense, because he relies on the officials to protect him when 300-pound defenders are bearing down on him in the pocket. Dolphins linebacker Raekwon McMillan told The Miami Herald that a member of the officiating crew told him after a legal hit on Brady this Sunday, “Stay off Tom.”
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