Patriots-Bengals Postgame: Tom Brady
September 12, 2010

Transcription provided by the Patriots Media Relations team.

Q: Did you get a new ride yet?

TB: I did. I did. I just wanted to get the 2011, so I had to crash the 2010.

Q: The week you had, obviously you capped it off with a win today, but what a week.

TB: It was a fun day today, I’ll tell you that. The celebration after the game is what it’s all about. We have a lot of new faces in here, and we’ve been working pretty hard for the entire offseason. Coach said a lot of really meaningful things last night and one of them [was], ‘You know guys, this is when we start keeping score. All of the work we’ve put in, this is what it’s all about.’ So it was good to come out. We started really fast. The defense made some really big plays: two returns for touchdowns, which really sparked us. And then throwing it to Wes [Welker] and scoring a couple touchdowns was good, too. Everyone contributed; I think that was the good part about today.

Q: What does it mean for Wes Welker to score that first touchdown?

TB: It was awesome. I spent a lot of time with him this offseason and the determination that he has is pretty remarkable. [He’s an] extremely mentally tough person. I knew in February, as a matter of fact, or March, that he was going to be back out on the field opening day. It just shows what his mind is all about. He’s really overcome a lot in his career and this thing is only going to make him better.

Q: Can you tell us anything about his emotions on the sidelines after scoring?

TB: Wes is pretty cool. There are times when he gets pretty excited, but I think this was…He’s out there still feeling it out probably a little bit, so everything was a little bit tame. I’m sure he’s going to be pretty excited tonight. It was good contribution for everybody: Aaron Hernandez made a bunch of big plays on touchdown drives. Freddy [Taylor] ran the ball great. The offensive line protected awesome. It was really a good day for us out there.

Q: What does the versatility of the tight ends do for you guys?

TB: All three of those guys – Alge [Crumpler] made a big catch coming out [in] the second half there on third down that got called back from a penalty. And Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] made catches on the touchdown. Not only can they block, but they’re all able to catch the ball, too. It creates different mismatches out there. Sometimes they have tough times getting lined up with the formations. It looks like that’s what happened with the one there to Aaron late in the game. He’s open and he makes a big run after catch.

Q: We haven’t talked to you since Thursday. Can you walk us through the emotions of the day with the accident and then signing your contract later in the day?

TB: Well, it’s unfortunate what happened Thursday morning. I’m sure a lot of people have been involved in accidents, but it’s a scary thing. But fortunately I was okay. Hopefully the people in the other car are recovering quickly and well. But it was a scary thing for both of us – for both people involved. But of course, I’ve got to come down and get ready for the game and I knew that. I had to be here for my teammates. I called and said I’d be a little bit late and then went out to practice and prepared. It was good. It was good. It was a good week. It was a good week. I’m glad it’s over, but it was a good week.

Q: Were you aware of all the misinformation out there about the accident? Did you get calls from your family concerned about things that weren’t true?

TB: No, I got a lot of calls. They just hear you’re in an accident, and it’s 3:30 in the morning where my family lives when it happened, so they wake up to a bunch of text messages. I called my dad pretty quick and just said ‘Dad, I’m fine.’ It wasn’t too much other than that.

Q: Protection was pretty good today. The hardest hit you took was maybe Thursday?

TB: They played great, the offensive line. They really handled…that’s a good front, too, with [Robert] Geathers and [Antwan] Odom and the blitz packages they run. I thought we did a good job handling the blitz and I think what happened was we hit some big plays on the blitz early so it slowed them down a little bit, but it’s a great offensive line. Those two tackles are special players and Steve [Neal], Dan Connolly – the way he stepped in. And [Dan] Koppen has been a rock there for a long time. It’s as good an offensive line as we’ve ever had. We’re going to need it all year. I’ll tell you, that’s what we’re going to need.

Q: Would you say Thursday morning’s accident is the hardest hit you took all week?

TB: That was a big one, but I’ll tell you, they’re all pretty similar out here. I said that to a few people. You get jolted pretty good like that. It’s kind of what it feels like. I don’t want to experience that too often.

Q: Did Peyton Manning call you and say thank you very much for signing?

TB: No, no. Peyton, I don’t know – it looked like they were losing today. I don’t know if they ended up losing, but I mean, he’s a great player. His time will come.

Q: How happy are you about your new contract?

TB: I’m more excited about the win, to tell you the truth. That’s really what it comes down to. Contracts always take care of themselves, and I think what I was most excited about was talking about football. That’s what’s most important to me and winning games and celebrating with my teammates and watching their determination and watching the hard work that they put in like Fred Taylor and Randy [Moss]. I see those guys work every day, so when we get a victory like this, it feels pretty good for all of us.

Q: Knowing that the contract is behind, what do your teammates think?

TB: I love being here. I really do. I love playing for this organization. It’s the only organization I’ve ever known, but I know a lot of people come from different places. Randy, who is one of my best friends on the team, always tells me how different this place is than other places that he’s been. That means a lot to me because those guys, I value their opinion so much. It’s a great place. If you like winning games, it’s a great place.

Q: When you can put all of that aside and concentrate on football, is that just part of your character or is that something you have developed?

TB: It’s my job, you know? It’s my job. That’s what my teammates expect me to do. They expect me to come out and do my job.

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No denials from Brady and Belichick
July 31, 2009

Tom Brady this morning was asked if he wanted to recant his previous statement that his wife Gisele is pregnant and he offered no denial instead quoting David Ortiz “I don’t have all the information but once I do you will be the 1st to know.
And Bill Belichick was asked if he has ruled out signing Michael Vick and Bill said he hasn’t ruled out anything leaving that door slightly ajar. He caught himself and retreated a little but still left the door open.
Much more coming up on NewsCenter5 at 5 and 6.
-MD

Brady Transcript
May 28, 2009

Here is the transcript of Tom Brady’s comments at Thursday’s OTA as provided by the Patriots Media Relations staff:

Q: How are you feeling? Do you want to give us an update on the progress of your knee from the last two months or so?

TB: Yeah. I’ve been feeling really positive. You know, getting back into the football stuff – it’s a little different than the training you do – working out normally in the offseason, so it’s good to come out on the field. There is obviously a lot of rust by all of us being off for four months. We’re working hard to make the improvements we need to make. Thank God the season is a few months away, but we need the work and I need the work. I think everybody realizes when you come out after four months off there is a lot of work for us to do.

Q: Have you talked to any other quarterbacks who have gone through this about what their experiences were?

TB: Not really. No, I haven’t.

Q: Anyone else at all? Any players that you’ve talked to that have been through it?

TB: There have been a couple of guys on our team that have had knee injuries. It’s about staying positive and putting in the work. You’ve got to do the rehab. Nobody likes to do rehab. I’m glad we are back into the football stuff and we are back into throwing the ball on the field. That’s the stuff that I enjoy the most.

Q: Do you have to learn how to throw again with the knee the way it is?

TB: The throwing is not the problem at all. At this point it’s just about getting back to the football activity. I am doing the football activities not for my leg, but for the rest of me – my everything. My body feels really good. My arm feels good. I’m not completing as many passes as I want, but we haven’t been out here very long. I think it’s just about getting better every day. If you can do that, and you can make continuous improvements over the course of weeks and months, you’ll be a better player.

Q: There’s no adjustment with having to wear a brace on your leg and getting used to that?

TB: No. You don’t even really notice it. I would rather not wear, but [Head Athletic Trainer] Jim [Whalen] is forcing me to wear it, so I have to listen to him.

Q: With your lifestyle being glamorous, are you still as hungry and competitive as you’ve always been?

TB: I’m a believer that talk is real cheap. I’m someone that likes to put the work in. I know it looks glamorous at times. I think what I enjoy the most is playing football and being with my family, and those are the kind of things that I do. I’m excited to go out there and compete and anytime I have a chance to compete, I love that. Whether it’s on the practice field or the game field, which unfortunately is a few months away for us, you just have to come out – and I always enjoy that.

Q: You said last year was the halftime of your career. What did you mean by that?

TB: Well, I think we all have goals that we set for ourselves and how long you want to play. Fortunately for a quarterback, you can play for a long time because you don’t get hit very often. I hope I have the opportunity to play for a long time. I think when you sit on the sidelines for an entire year you realize how much you love it. Not that you need that to happen to be grateful to play, but you experience things in a much different way and a way that I never experienced as an athlete. I love being out here. I love participating and being around these guys. We’re working for some big goals we set, so we just have to, like Coach Belichick says, come out here and work hard every day and do our job.

Q: Does this year off make you think about your athletic mortality?

TB: Like the end of my career?

Q: Well, did it make you think that it’s getting closer than…

TB: The reality is in this sport, you really never know with… Any day could be your last day in football. You come out and it’s a very physical game and I think you’re just grateful for having a chance to compete in practice and be on a team and having a great job. I think all of that stuff we are very happy about and happy to participate in. I don’t think about the end too often. Hopefully this is still, relatively, in the early part of my career. I guess you will have to talk to me in a few years.

Q: You used the word rust. Getting back out here does it feel like a long time? What are your emotions?

TB: I’ve been playing football for a long time so you don’t have to relearn how to do anything, you just have to go out and try to be sharp. I don’t think I’ve been very sharp the last three days in practice. It takes a lot of reps and a lot of throwing. You see the defense and you make the throws and there are adjustments you have to make on the field. The football part and understanding our offense – I mean, obviously, I have a good understanding of that – it’s just a matter of putting it together at a different speed than you can go out and practice in the bubble in March and April. It’s nice when team activities are on the field and there’s blitzes and you can signal guys and something happens and a guy slips on a route and now you have to throw to a different player. Those are the things that you’ve got to sharpen up. There’s a lot of training camp practices. There’s probably 50 training camp practices that we’ll have and I think each one of those will be valuable for all of us. I’m looking forward to those because I haven’t had the opportunity to do that in quite awhile.

Q: I would imagine your rehab is probably 75 percent done and I would think you probably still have some limitations. You don’t feel like you are 100 percent yet, do you?

TB: I feel as good as I could possibly feel. I don’t think about it. It doesn’t bother me doing anything. It’s feeling really good and it’s about as good as I can say. I’m real happy with where I’m at and I come out to these workouts happy to participate in them. That was something that was a big goal for me to be able to do.

Q: If the opening game would be two months away do you think you’d be ready or do you think you need four months?

TB: I will take every day that I have. Believe me, I’ll take every day. We have a lot of work [to do] and there are a lot of new faces and new coaches. There’s been a lot of change for us this year and we have to use it to our advantage.

Q: Did you learn anything while you were out from watching the game that you can put into practice now?

TB: Yeah, you’re not in the day-to-day of the football, which as a football player – like everybody – your job, when you’re in it every day, it’s a grind. You get up and you go to work and there is quite a routine. I didn’t have that routine this year, so there are other things that you see. I said earlier, some of those things when you are in that marathon of a season it’s just getting through the next day and getting through the game. You start complaining about the little things. When I was sitting out last year you hear all the guys start [in] November, December – that later part in the year when the guys are starting to get worn down – I’m going, ‘Come on guys, push through it, just win the game.’ That’s how Coach Belichick coaches us, and I saw it from a different perspective in that sense. So hopefully there’s no complaining from me this year.

Q: Naturally a lot of people are comparing this offense to 2007 – you have some new tools in Joey Galloway and Greg Lewis. What are your expectations and do you think it will be better?

TB: Well, we have guys that are experienced players. Obviously, Randy [Moss] and Wes [Welker] at receiver and we’ve added some tight ends and Joey and Greg are here as well. There’s a lot of work that we need to do to get on the same page. I know the kind of effort we put in in 2007 and we need to match that, and in 2008 as well – we worked hard that offseason. It didn’t work out for us in the end, but I think this year is another bit of excitement, it’s a new challenge and that’s why we are out here practicing. I don’t think you overlook anything out here. Every rep we are trying to complete is for a reason. There are signals [to learn]. We’re walking through the two-minute drill today. We’re trying to all get on the same page and that’s going to carry over into training camp and training camp carries over to the season. We have a lot of tough opponents this year. We have a challenging schedule and we are going to need the work that we have. I think the new guys – they are a bit overwhelmed with the offense and the terminology and the speed of how I’m spitting things out in the huddle and how I’m changing things at the line. We are all trying to get used to that.

Q: What’s been the biggest surprise for you over the last two days?

TB: This is a hard game and it’s one of those things that if you’re not doing it every day and you’re competing at this level, you always think it’s going to get easier as you get older and you are going to complete more balls. That’s not the way it works. You’ve got to come out every day and put the work in. You can’t take anything for granted and you can’t think that because you completed it last year a certain way that that’s the way it’s going to be this year. We’ve got a group of hard working guys and I’m very appreciative of that as a member of the team because I don’t have to motivate those guys. They are really self-motivating and they’re willing to work and we are willing to put the time in together. I think we’re going to need all that hard work and commitment from everybody to make it a successful season.

Q: A lot of good things happened for you off the field this year – you were able to spend more time with your son and you got married. Can you address that and how it was?

TB: Sure. I’m a very optimistic person. I cherish those moments. There’s been great things happening in my life for a long time and certainly this year was no different and different areas of success with marriage and with children. It’s a great part of my life and so is work. I’m excited for all those things coming together. I think I’m a happier person when I’m working.

Q: You’re going to have to juggle a little more.

TB: Yeah, certainly. I think there are a lot of constraints on your time and it’s about prioritizing and doing the best you can do.

Q: You said “children” in a previous answer. Is there another one on the way?

TB: No. It’s… No. One is enough. I have dogs and that’s all I need.

Q: Aside from the knee, how rusty do you feel?

TB: I feel like it’s springtime – 50 degrees and rainy in Boston. It’s the start of a new year. I wish we’d come out and throw 90 percent completions out here every day and [have] everyone on the same page and [have] no mental errors, but because we are so new to this there are a lot of mistakes we are making. We have to try to make those improvements every day. We go in, watch our film and listen to Coach and hopefully we can build on each day. So like I said, we can look back two months from now and know that we’re prepared for training camp.

Q: When you think back about the day you were injured, is it something you put in the back of your mind?

TB: I really don’t think about it. I’ve never really thought about it. I’ve never really focused on it. I think I felt bad for myself that night and then I think I moved on after that. Since then it’s about trying to get better. There’s nothing you can do and you have to find ways to move on. Like I said, I’m grateful to be out here. To have the chance to come out here and play is something I’ve wanted to do my entire life and I’ve had the opportunity to do it for nine years and I’m at it again for my 10th. Randy [Moss] jokes that he wishes this was training camp. I think in a lot of ways we feel the same way that we are going to put the work in and we want to come out and get back to doing what we love to do.

Q: Have you talked to other players with this injury?

TB: I haven’t – just the guys on my team that are supportive and encourage me, but no one in particular that I’ve sought out.

Q: With your glamorous lifestyle, does the football field feel like a sanctuary for you?

TB: Yeah, the football field… You are one of the guys here and I enjoy that. In other parts of my life it’s just that once I had a little bit more privacy back in the past, but that’s okay and I learn to manage it and I still find ways to enjoy myself, certainly here – I always have fun here. Personally, I really enjoy the things I’m doing. This is a great place for me.

Q: At this point what could stop you from being ready for the season opener?

TB: I said anything that could stop anybody. There’re a lot of things that could happen in two months. I have to drive home this afternoon in Boston traffic, you never know what could happen. Knock on wood please. We’re out here preparing and I don’t anticipate anything. I hope there’s not. We’ll deal with something if something does… lighting striking, I don’t know.

Q: How do you feel about playing in London?

TB: I’m looking forward to that. Mr. Kraft told me last year the day that it was announced. I was excited. Especially that it’s an away game for us and a home game for them. I’d much rather play in London than at Tampa’s stadium. It’s the middle part of the year and it will be fun to play at a different place. I know the NFL works hard to expand into different countries all around world and get more fans. I think the players understand that and we’re willing to do that. We love the game and we want other people to love the game too.

Q: Randy Moss and Wes Welker talked about how their experience in the offense is really going to help what you guys had in 2007. What do you think about that showing up now and going into the year?

TB: Those two work extremely hard. They were pretty good two years ago when they got here and they were great last year. I expect them to be great this year and there isn’t any reason why they shouldn’t be. They work hard. They know the offense. They’re accountable and they’re great leaders. They need to play well. If they don’t play well then obviously we’re not going to have a very good football team. When your best players are guys that are the hardest workers – I know Coach Belichick loves that. I think all the players look up to those guys and their leadership ability.

Q: What’s the adjustment without Josh McDaniels out here?

TB: You know Josh and I had a great relationship. As a part of the NFL, things change every year. There’re 13 new head coaches and he’s one of them. I really hope that we find ways to move on without him, and we’ve already started that process. It doesn’t stop for anybody around here. You leave and someone else fills your spot and they’re anxious for the opportunity. We have to work hard to get up to speed on everything and the coaches that are in that role are doing that.

Q: Is it kind of quiet without [Mike] Vrabel?

TB: You noticed that too don’t you? Vrabel, Rodney [Harrison] – there is definitely not as much noise. We miss those guys and we love those guys. They are our great friends and we wish them well.

Q: Were you surprised about the Vrabel move?

TB: I’m not surprised by anything anymore. It’s part of this game and it’s part of the league. I know Mike’s happy to have a job. We are all happy to have a job. Like I said, Mike’s a great friend of all of ours. We miss him and I know he misses us, but if we ever play Kansas City than we are going to want to beat the crap out of him.

Q: Was there ever a point in your recovery that you thought you might not be ready?

TB: No, I think part of surgery and rehab is that you have setbacks and you just deal with them. It doesn’t always go as you plan it. Life doesn’t go how you plan it. It’s a matter of dealing with it [and] understanding, what do I have to do to get back on the right track. It didn’t really set me back for very long, probably just long enough from keeping me from really hurting myself.

Q: Did you pay attention to the speculation about your knee and were you amused by any of it?

TB: I’m amused by a lot.

Q: Some Pats fans might be concerned today to look at the paper and see you riding your bicycle without your helmet on. Tell me about that?

TB: Do I need a helmet?

Q: Yeah.

TB: I do? I’m not even going very fast.

Q: You have to wear a helmet.

TB: I’ll get a helmet. I’ll see if Mr. Kraft can provide me with a helmet.

Q: Have you lost weight? Are you at your playing weight?

TB: I think I’m a little more than my playing weight. I try to work on my strength a lot. There’re different things you try to find [to make] improvements on. I’ll be right back to where I need to be in a few months. I need some warm weather.

Q: Are there things you would like to do but you are holding back a little bit?

TB: I always try to do as much as I can do. I’m never a person that does not enough because I’d regret not doing enough and think I probably could have done more. I probably go too far and have to reel myself back in, which works in some things and other things it doesn’t work. I think as far as I’m concerned now, coming out here, I’m trying to do everything I can do and I’m trying to do everything in the offseason program since it started. It’s been good because now I come out here and there’s nothing I’m worried about. I just try to play better, which I didn’t do very well today.

Q: What do you think about Joey Galloway and Fred Taylor and the new weapons on offense?

TB: I think it’s great. I love having veteran players come onto this team because they have the experience. They know football and they know the language and terminology and the learning curve is so much accelerated for them. It’s challenging in our offense for a young player because there’s a lot that we do. It changes every week. Especially as a receiver, you might be in one spot one day and the next spot the other [day] and the route we are calling – there are three different variations to the route based on the coverage. It’s tough, so when you have a veteran player, he’s – ok yeah, I get that, I did that. When you get a rookie, he’s trying to make sure he gets out to practice on time. When you have Fred who’s excited to run the plays and now he has to learn our terminology versus the terminology he’s known… He’s excited, he feels excited to be here. That youth comes out in him, so I think hopefully we are going to get the best out of both he and Joey and Greg Lewis. I don’t know if you saw that catch he [Greg] made today, but that was ridiculous. I told him that was the one he caught in the Super Bowl – that weasel.

Q: Have you told those guys that you are trying to do something special?

TB: I think they know that we are all trying to do something special. We haven’t had the kind of season we would’ve liked going into our fifth year. There have been some ups and downs and I think we’ve realized you need to be extremely consistent in everything you do to accomplish your goals. It is challenging. Look at Miami last year – they were the division champs last year. We are not in that spot anymore, so we have to make the improvements to catch up to the other teams. We have an AFC team that won the Super Bowl, a team that we seem to play every year. When you don’t make the playoffs you’re looking up at a lot of teams. We’ve got to get back to winning some football games.

Q: How confident are you that you can be the same player that you were before the injury?

TB: We’ll see. Like I said, talk is cheap. I could sit here and tell you guys that I’m going to play until I’m 80, but that doesn’t matter. I’m going to do the best that I can do and I’m going to try to be the best leader and the best teammate and supporter of the guys on my team – it’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing. Like I said, I’m grateful to have that chance and to be out here today. I can’t wait to get out and start playing games.

Q: For veteran guys the first time they have an injury it’s a shock. Did you go through that?

TB: I think you wake up the next day and think was that a dream? Because that’s not really how I thought it was going to go. I had never been injured and then that passes with me pretty quick though. I don’t dwell on it. I just kind of go, well that sucks. Okay, now what do we have to do? Right after, you’re hurting a little bit but then you are focusing on the things that you have to do to get better. I think it went pretty fast in a lot of ways – the rehab process and getting back here. It goes fast because there is something else to focus on and you’re always trying to make improvements just like we do on the practice field. In a different way, when you’re not practicing you’re trying to make improvements so you can get back out here with this goal in mind. It’s challenging because you’re not playing. It’s challenging because you can’t help your teammates in the role that you’ve always helped them in, but I am obviously supportive of them. I’m hoping that I can be back out there leading them once again.

Q: Was it difficult to watch the games?

TB: Watching the games wasn’t a problem – I loved that. It’s the end of the game that’s the problem, because when you win you’re like, I wasn’t a part of any of that [and] they’re all celebrating in the locker room and I’m laying on my bed. And when you lose, you are bummed because the team lost. It’s probably the emotion of a normal game. For the players there is always emotion after the game. During the game you are rooting and cheering for the guys and hoping that everyone is doing well and everyone is safe, but once the game ends you try to go to bed early.

Brady On SI Cover
May 26, 2009

22COV16
Look who’s back on the cover of Sports Illustrated, just in time for the start of off-season workouts for the full team (media access is Thursday). Here is the official press release from SI, with excerpts.

(NEW YORK – May 26, 2009) – This week’s June 1, 2009, issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands tomorrow, features New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady—his 11th appearance on the cover—with the billing “I’ll Be Ready”: The Season Can’t Come Soon Enough For a Healthy Tom Brady. In his first extended interview since his September 7, 2008, knee injury, Brady sat down with SI senior NFL writer Peter King last week to talk about his recovery, his excitement over his return to football and his hopes for at least 10 more years in the game.

Exuding confidence in his surgically rebuilt left knee, Brady tells SI that his recovery is on schedule and that he is running and cutting without pain or restricted movement. King writes: “He was convincing when he said he was ‘as confident as anyone could be that I’ll be ready to play, back to playing normally, when the season starts. I’ve done everything I could to push myself, sometimes too hard. Right now, I’m doing everything. Literally everything. There’s nothing I can’t do.’ ”

Brady tells King that he has learned much about himself during his forced layoff and that he is so anxious to play again that he looks forward to the grind of two-a-days. “‘When I was playing every week, I (complained) about the little things,’ he said. ‘Like, God, we’ve got to go outside today? It’s raining! Or, why is Bill dunking the ball in soap? Or, why do we have a meeting at 7:30 to talk about everything we’ve already talked about. Geez! Then when you’re not playing, you realize that you would [gladly] do any of that—whatever they wanted me to do.’ Brady drew an analogy based on his parenting experience with his 21-month-old Jack. ‘I don’t see him everyday”—Brady shares custody with former girlfriend Bridget Moynahan—‘and we play when I change his diaper: lifting his leg up, playing with his toes, biting his feet. There’s a different appreciation. If you had him every day, you’d go, Let’s just get this done. But when you get him, say, one week a month, you’re like, This is so cool!’ ”

In addition, Brady tells King that he’d like to play for 10 more seasons: “I want to play until I am 41. And if I get to that point and still feel good, I’ll keep playing. I mean, what the hell else am I going to do? I don’t like anything else. People say, ‘What will you do after football?’ Why would I even think of doing anything else? What would I do instead of run out in front of 80,000 people and command 52 guys and be around guys I consider brothers and be one of the real gladiators? Why would I ever want to do something else? It’s so hard to think of anything that would match what I do: Fly to the moon? Jump out of planes? Bungee-jump off cliffs? None of that (stuff) matters to me. I want to play this game I love, be with my wife and son and enjoy life.”

Expert’s Take On Brady Situation
October 23, 2008

So the big news today is that Tom Brady is having further procedures done on his injured left knee to relieve an infection that has set in. It’s also not much of a surprise that word is starting to filter out that the Patriots are not happy Brady spurned team doctors (led by Dr. Thomas Gill) to have the procedure done on the West Coast. They’d rather have him here where they can keep an eye on his recovery.

Knowing Brady didn’t choose some fly-by-night operation (he went with the well-known Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in LA) got us thinking about how this can happen and what do you do when it happens.

For those answers, I talked to the Celtics team physician, Dr. Brian McKeon, at his office at HealthPoint in Waltham. He had some very interesting things to say… here’s the transcript.

–SI

On the risks of ACL surgery, which has become more common amongst athletes:

Any surgery has a risk. Any time you’re implanting tissue that is not live or a foreign body into a joint or another part of your body there is always a risk of infection. It’s the number one concern for surgeons.

On the odds of this happening to Tom Brady or anyone:

The literature varies, the rates vary… but an easy guess would be 0.8 to 1% of the time you can experience an infection with ACL surgery. Oh yeah, this is 1 in 100, clearly.

On how severe these infections can get:

It’s difficult to assess because when you hear infection, when you’re a surgeon and someone tells you you have an infection, typically you think the most common, which is the superficial skin infection or a little suture abscess which you can just clear up in the office with a little oral antibiotics. But from what I understand Tom’s now had two subsequent surgeries and likely to have more, so that means only one thing – he’s had deep sepsis – that the joint itself is infected and the infection went deep all the way down to where the ACL reconstruction took place.

On how he would treat such a problem:

They jumped on this very early, and they’ve done an excellent job thus far from what I’ve read and if you jump on it early and do sequential washouts as we call it, or clean out the knee, irrigate it out literally with high powered fluid with antibiotics every other day or so for three or four consecutive surgeries often you can save the graft – you have a very high chance of graft survival.

On how Brady’s rehab would be affected if the surgery had to be redone:

Redo the surgery again? It’s a tremendous setback. You start from ground zero and not only that, it’s now a compromised joint that’s had surgery, there’s more scar tissue so it’s almost like doing a revision, doing a re-do surgery, which is much more complex, less success rates than if it was a primary injury.

If you do enough surgeries, enough ACL reconstruction surgeries, you take care of high level athletes you do a high quantity number of surgeries eventually it’s going to happen. You take all the necessary precautions, the New England Baptist Hospital in particular – leaders in the field, we think, in infection prevention – but no matter where you have the surgery done: Los Angeles, Boston, or anywhere, there’s still a significant chance of complications and infections just happen to be one.

Preseason Woes
August 23, 2008

Another night without Tom Brady, and another night of the Patriots looking pretty bad. Tonight, it’s not just the offense or the defense, it’s the special teams as well. It’s hard to believe what our eyes are showing us. This is a team that went 16-0 last season. They were within a minute or two of being the greatest team in the history of the world. And they’ve come back and looked terrible.

Can it all be Brady? We know he’s the Most Valuable Player in the league, but who knew they’d go from being the best to the worst with one guy out of the line-up. Certainly, with Brady the offense would look a lot better. They’d be scoring points, moving the ball, and maybe even winning games. They’d be holding on the ball longer which would make it easier on the defense, but so what if the Patriot defense would be on the field less. The problem is when they’re on the field. They’re getting pushed around. The special teams are being out-worked and out-hustled.

And I’m sure that most Patriots fans believe that once the season starts, everything will be fixed. I tend to agree, but there has to be at least a little bit of worry. The Patriots are a veteran team. They’re supposed to be ahead of other teams preparing for the season. Did they get old on defense right before our eyes? Is the offensive line going to be a problem at least at the start of the season? Remember, the last time we saw that O-line in tact, they were getting beaten badly in the Super Bowl. Now, they’re not even healthy. They’ve got substitutes and new guys and guys out of position, and they can’t seem to get anything going. What if the O-line starts the season the way it ended last season? It probably won’t kill the Patriots chances to make the post-season, but it’s going to make them beatable. Remember how easy something like 13 of their regular season games were last year? They had a few close calls, but for the most part, they rolled over everybody. It sure doesn’t look like they’re going to have that easy a time of it this year.

It’s only the pre-season. It’s only the pre-season. It’s only the pre-season. Keep saying it. Maybe you’ll start to believe it at some point. But it has to be that still confident Patriot fans are choosing to believe what they saw a year ago as opposed to what they’re seeing now. If the Patriots had gone 8-8 last year and came back and looked like this in the pre-season, there would be tremendous concern. But because they went 16-0, I think most of us assume they’ll be fine with the first real whistle blows. That’s a lot of faith based on things that occurred a long time ago. Right now, the Patriots are not a good team. Will that change in sixteen days? If it does, hand Brady the MVP trophy as he walks off the field on opening day.

It’s only the pre-season, but it’s been a lousy one. Three straight losses. Three straight bad performances on several different levels. The only thing that would make this better is if this were the last pre-season game. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were only three meaningless games that only serve to confuse us anyway. Really, we can’t get much out of these games, because the players and coaches treat them as the exhibitions that they are. They’re going through the motions, so it’s impossible to analyze them with any degree of accuracy. So, if they knocked it down to two or three pre-season games, players could get their reps, coaches could see how the draft picks and free agents are fitting it, and maybe they’d even take the games more seriously, because they’d have to do their evaluating in a condensed form.

Now, just because I’m in favor of shortening the pre-season doesn’t mean I’m interested in lengthening the regular season. A sixteen game schedule is plenty. As a stat geek, I don’t like how difficult it will be to compare eras and records. What’s the touchdown record? Well, are we talking about a 12 or a 16 or an 18 game schedule? Keep it at 16 games and tell the owners and players that their multi-billion dollar shared enterprise has more than enough money for everybody to go around. Give up one or two pre-season games. Give the players a shorter training camp and pre-season. More vacation time. And the fans would only have to watch half as much meaningless football. Everybody wins. And deep pockets continued to be lined with plenty of cash. No worries — except for Tom Brady’s foot. Get well soon. Or everyone should start to worry about the Pats.

-BH

Passing Fancy
May 21, 2008

The Patriots are holding their first organized team activity (OTA) of this offseason, officially named “Passing Camp.” It’s four days long, but we were only allowed to attend Tuesday’s session. Most of the big names, including Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Tedy Bruschi were in attendance.

Injured players Ellis Hobbs and Ben Watson were absent, as was Wes Welker for reasons unclear (but it should be said this was an optional workout).

The workout consisted mostly of stretching, agility work, and passing drills. While the offensive players worked on short routes, the defensive players worked on coverages and special teams on the far field. Nothing too strenuous, in fact, it wasn’t enough to ruffle Tom Brady’s hair.

Here’s our slideshow from the practice fields outside Gillette.