Tom Brady is Back (cont.)
By the end of December, Brady was able to run and cut pretty well. Back at his home in Southern California, he woke up on Super Bowl Sunday, five months after the injury, and his thought was: I'm going to play some football. He called ElAttrache and a few other buddies, and before the Cardinals and the Steelers played for the NFL championship 2,200 miles away in Tampa, Brady threw and caught with his friends on a field at UCLA. "Running, jumping, throwing -- it felt so good," Brady said. "Throwing never was a problem. I've really felt comfortable throwing since two months after surgery."
Brady said he learned much about himself during his forced layoff. "When I was playing every week, I bitched 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 you would [gladly] do any of that -- whatever they wanted me to do. I saw the guys in the locker room, mid-November; I was doing rehab, and they were at the point of the season when things had slowed down, and they were bitching. I said, 'Come on, guys! It's football!' Mentally, they needed a break, but I said, 'Quit complaining!' "
Brady drew an analogy based on his parenting experience with 21-month-old Jack. "I don't see him every day" -- 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 this 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!
"So, this year if I hear [the Pats have] two-a-day practices? Great! Let's have three. Whatever you say, Coach. You need something from the players? Let me know, and I'll do what I can to get the players to do it."
Brady and BŁndchen were quietly married on Feb. 26 in Santa Monica, Calif. On April 4 they held a larger ceremony for family and friends at a secluded beachfront in Costa Rica. Not surprisingly, snooping photographers also showed up. Two claimed that bodyguards for Brady and BŁndchen shot at their car. "Absolute total b.s.," Brady said last week. "We found two guys on our property, and we told them to get out. Our security guys didn't even have guns. There were no shots fired."
Back in Boston now, Brady says he and BŁndchen aren't harassed as much by paparazzi as elsewhere. They can move around fairly freely and can take Jack to a nearby park, where they encounter only the occasional autograph-seeker. Better yet, Brady's able to get back into the routine of the off-season, the annual buildup to another run at the Super Bowl. "I'll tell you what I'm looking forward to -- practice," he said. "Screw the games; they'll take care of themselves. I want to be out there with my guys. I'm so anxious to get out there and practice."
He's thrown to Moss and Welker a dozen or so times in the last few months. "He's got me running all over the field," Welker said last Friday. "Once or twice I've been like, 'Hey, Tom, we just had a pretty long season. Let's take some baby steps here.' But he doesn't want to hear that. When you're on the field with him, you're out there playing."
Asked how Brady was moving, if he was struggling at all, Welker said, "Nope" -- then chuckled -- "he looks like the same slow guy he was before.
"Just wait, you'll see. He's the same guy."
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