Tom Brady’s latest stories

Without surprise, Tom BradyThe retirement of sparked an avalanche of stories and tributes during the week.

From coast to coast, athletes, coaches and executives from every sport, along with scribes who cover football and beyond, have weighed in on what the former great Patriot meant to the game.

On Tuesday, the head coach of the Patriots Bill Belichickwho was with Brady for 20 seasons, recognized him as the “greatest player in NFL history”.

So there was a lot to unpack and so many angles to cover with the 44-year-old legend stepping away from football and into the next chapter.

Inevitably, there were plenty of stories and vignettes that didn’t make the final cut. I know I had a few aside.

So let’s tackle some of these elements and clean up the Brady notebook by highlighting some of the leftovers.

A special golf date

Shortly after Rodney Harrison Arriving in Foxboro after signing a free agent contract in 2003, Brady, in his third season as a starter, made sure to welcome his new teammate.

Harrison said the No.12 had gone out of his way to do “something special” with him. The Patriots Hall of Famer said he will never forget the day they spent together.

“He wanted to get to know me and he knew I was a golfer. So he invited me to play golf with him,” Harrison said. “We took his private plane and ended up at Pine Valley (in southern New Jersey), one of the top two or three courses in the United States.”

Pine Valley Golf Club, one of the most challenging and challenging golf courses on the planet, is actually one of the best golf courses in this country. It was the #1 ranked golf course in the United States last year.

And Brady signed them both up on the private course for a round – just to make Rodney feel at home with his new team.

“I just spent time with him and was really lucky to know him,” Harrison said. “That’s what he did when I arrived as a newcomer. That’s the kind of guy he is… That’s one of the things he’s done, besides buying his linemen’s cars, and stuff like that.

It’s that kind of stuff that made Brady so popular with his teammates. It also made them want to walk through walls for him on the football field.

The time he bought his cars from linemen

Yes, it’s a true story. Brady bought his offensive line cars. He provided a one-year lease for an Audi vehicle of choice for each of his protectors.

Dan Koppen, Brady’s center for nine seasons, verified Harrison’s story. And Koppen and his linemates took full advantage of it. That year, there was a fleet of Audis in the player’s lot.

It should be noted that supplying linemen is not an unusual practice for quarterbacks. It’s their way of thanking the offensive line for keeping them safe every year.

Koppen’s favorite gift from Brady, however, wasn’t the car. It was a wallet. One year Brady gave the lineman a Tom Ford personalized wallet with dress boots.

“I still use it today,” Koppen said of the wallet. “And because of his love for Tom Ford, we also got some custom dress boots. Along with the wallet, that’s my favorite.

One year, the giving of gifts extended to the whole offence. Former Patriots fullback Heath Evans said he received custom-made in-ear headphones from Brady.

“He was generous and extravagant,” Evans said. “But there was always an intention behind the gift. He spent time getting to know everyone and tried to shape these gifts to suit the players.

The competition gene

Inevitably, every player can tell a story of Brady’s ultra-competitiveness playing any game they’ve been involved in, whether it’s trying to beat Danny Amendola in table tennis, trying to beat teammates by throwing into a blue trash can 40-45 yards away, or returning in matches from three scores.

Evans added a ribbon ball to the list. He loved watching Brady, Asante Samuel and others throw themselves into a ball game in the locker room. Players made a wad of duct tape wrapped around their ankles and hands and started tugging at the trash baskets that lined the middle of the room.

“You take bets and everyone talks noise,” Evans said, “and Tom was right in the middle of it all. He always had that same kind of competition, ‘I’m never going to back down, I’m going to beat you no matter ‘he’s coming’ playing ball like he did against the Chiefs.

Evans said Brady had the same “ferocity” and played the same kind of mind games in a friendly ball-and-strip game that he would try to beat any opponent on the football field.

“All of that mental edge from Brady,” Evans said, “he would use it no matter what game he was playing.”

The Brady Effect

To recover Shane Vereen played a significant role in the Patriots’ victory over Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX during the 2014 season. He caught 11 passes for 64 yards, with Brady (4 TD passes) leading the team after a 24-14 deficit in the fourth quarter to win Super Bowl No. 5, and the first since 2004.

I asked him what kind of vibe Brady gives off in games and how it impacts others.

“By far, he was the most competitive teammate I’ve ever played with. Since he held himself to such a high standard, it was easy to follow that and personally raise my level of play, but not just in games or big games, but in training,” Vereen said. . “He was that extra motivator when you’re tired and you don’t really want to be out there.

“But, knowing that you are in the huddle with 12, you really have to bring it because he expects it from you. This responsibility has driven many players not only to prolong their careers, but also to reach their maximum career potential.

What did Brady look like in the fourth quarter of that Seattle game? How did he bring the Patriots back?

“He was so focused, driven,” Vereen said. “The crazy thing is, in my four years there, I can name at least 15 games, where we’re behind the game, and I look up at the clock, and I say, “I don’t know how we’re going to do this, but we’re going to find a way to win this game. And we did.

“Tom was always so prepared. There wasn’t a defense he hadn’t seen. There was never a situation he wasn’t in. That confidence, I never took the pitch, not once, no matter the score, no matter who we were playing against, no matter the situation, I never walked onto the pitch thinking we weren’t going to win the game. I always took to the pitch confidently believing that we were going to win every time I touched the pitch.

“Obviously a lot of that comes down to the culture and the coaching staff,” he continued, “but a lot of that comes down to the confidence that Tom has always had in every huddle. You knew that ‘with him we had a chance no matter what.

A blast from the past

Five years ago, when the Patriots were traveling to Houston to play Atlanta in Super Bowl LI, yes Super Bowl 28-3, I interviewed several Boston luminaries to talk about Brady.

Remarks from Hall of Famer and former Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez really stood out. He remembers being excited when his former team, the Montreal Expos, drafted Brady to play baseball.

“Tom Brady, I think he’s one of those guys, who comes once in a thousand years, just like his coach (Belichick). They’re made for each other, and Brady is the one of the greatest things that’s happened to the sport,” Martinez said. “I don’t have enough words to describe how good he is. I’m just sorry we drafted him (along with the Expos ) in 94-95, and never went to play.

“We heard enough about him and the team couldn’t sign him. He went to football and I got to meet him (in Boston), but you know what, if Brady was a pitcher, he would have been better than he was a quarterback.

In 2015, while advising the Sox, Martinez actually threw Brady on batting practice. But eventually Pedro understood why Brady chose football.

“Having 300-pound guys coming at you trying to hurt you and being able to place the ball the way he does, I think is unreal. It’s out of the ordinary,” he said. “Every time I watch it, I get more and more impressed.”

The personal touches

I’m kinda asked that Brady always acknowledge my existence at press conferences and address me by name. I’m pretty sure it was a byproduct of me being a familiar face and him respecting his elders.

During his 20 seasons at Foxboro, I covered all but one of Brady’s starts. So my mug has been a constant press. Beyond that, I had the chance to chat with him on occasion in his locker, back when the changing rooms were open before the pandemic.

While he spoke officially with the media once a week, he allowed a few parallel sessions in his locker. I enjoyed these sessions because it helped me better understand what made him tick and make a connection.

Once he walked me through what made a great fake game and how he got so good at it.

Our conversations weren’t always just about football, though. Sometimes it revolved around family. He admitted that his daughter vivi wrapped it around his finger. He also boasted of being the most athletic of all his children. He bragged about the boys and their accomplishments too.

When his mother Galynn was going through her battle with cancer, there were times when we talked about it. Tom knew I was a cancer survivor, so he sought advice on what he could do to help.

After covering him for two decades, I have to say that one of my biggest takeaways was how – during those parallel sessions – he always made it look like you were talking to the 53rd guy on the list , as opposed to the greatest of all time.

About Carl Schroeder

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