Despite an MVP season and another Super Bowl appearance, Brady still has not committed to playing in the 2018 season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. The report is fueled by Brady’s absence from voluntary offseason workouts and the residual fallout from the rumors of discord swirling about him, Rob Gronkowski, Bill Belichick and Brady’s health guru, Alex Guerrero. Many people, Schefter reported, believe that Brady will play, but there is less certainty than usual.
“My money would be on him playing football for the foreseeable future, but what goes on away from the football field, I don’t know,” one source told ESPN. “I don’t know.” Another person told ESPN, “we’re dealing with a human being. Things can change. But I do believe he will be playing.”
A Pro Football Talk report bolsters that point of view, with an unnamed source telling Mike Florio that Brady is planning a summer passing camp with teammates sometime before the opening of training camp in July.
Still, you’re to be forgiven if you fear that we’re in full-on Brett Favre territory again with the “will he or won’t he play” stuff. Who among us has not missed those heady days of reporters doing live reports from Favre’s lawn?
In an interview published last month, Brady seemed to say he wasn’t going anywhere. “I love playing and I want to keep going ’cause I think there’s more to achieve and I still think I can play at a really high level,” he told People. “As long as I’m willing to make the commitment, my family gets the time they need, [then] hopefully I can keep playing the game I love.”
You’ll notice some qualifiers in there. His wife, supermodel Gisele Bündchen, talked a year ago about his concussions, although both the NFL and the NFL Players Association said that they found no validity to her claim that Brady suffered a concussion during the 2016 season. In “Tom vs. Time,” which also was released last month, she seemed to hint at Brady’s restlessness.
“These last two years have been very challenging for him in so many ways,” she said. “And he tells me, ‘I love it so much and I just want to go to work and feel appreciated and have fun.’ ”
The video then cuts to Brady.
“It’s a big commitment, laying here three days after the game and getting my Achilles worked on and my thumb [which he injured just days before the AFC championship game],” Brady said. “You go, ‘What are we doing this for?’ You know? ‘What are we doing this for, who are we doing this for, why are we doing this?’ You gotta have answers to those questions. And they have to be with a lot of conviction. You know, when you lose your conviction, then you probably should be doing something else.”
Brady has also spoken of keeping his life in balance, telling People that Bündchen “wants me to continue to do what I love and continue taking care of myself and, you know, make sure I’m still really present for my kids when they need me and still available to everyone in the family, because our kids aren’t getting any younger.”
Then there are the Patriots’ reported internal issues involving Guerrero, Brady’s TB12 business partner and trainer. The relationship caused strain with the team’s strength and conditioning staff and Guerrero both providing training for a number of players, including Gronkowski. Coach Bill Belichick ended many of Guerrero’s privileges with the team last winter and players now consult him offsite, at the nearby TB12 facility. There has been speculation, too, about the future of Gronkowski, who has not attended the first three days of offseason work, and about his possible displeasure with his contract.
And, to add to the mix, Brady has not signed his usual contract extension. Yet.
So where are we? Might as well set up camp on Brady’s lawn. Not that he’s home. He was in Qatar with his family last weekend. It should also be noted that he has skipped part of offseason work before — in 2008, 2009 and 2010. ESPN’s report noted that he plans to spend more time with Guerrero this offseason, and that Brady has said he wants to play until he is 45. The Patriots evidently believed him, trading backups Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, which means they may well be looking for Brady’s successor in next week’s draft.
So we’ll leave you with this.
“Again,” Brady told People, “I still love playing and hopefully I can play for a while.”
Ah, that pesky “hopefully.”
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