As much as Tom Brady likes Wes Welker as a friend and teammate, he did not ask the Patriots to retain the receiver as part of the contract renegotiation and extension the quarterback signed in February.
“Those aren’t my demands,” Brady said during a Thursday morning interview on WEEI. “I want us to field as competitive a team as we possibly can and I have all the trust in the world that Mr. [Robert] Kraft and Jonathan [Kraft] and Coach [Bill] Belichick do that.
“I’m not the general manager, I can’t say, ‘I do this, you do this.’ I think we are going to field a competitive team.”
It seems Brady would have some say on team matters, particularly when it comes to the players he throws to, but that notion was sharply dispelled by Robert Kraft at the NFL meetings in March, during the course of his stunning press conference detailing the way Welker’s contract negotiation and departure went down.
“I don’t answer to Tom Brady,” Kraft said, adding that Brady agreed to his new contract to put New England in the best position to build a winning team around him.
Every time a high-profile teammate moves on, be it Lawyer Milloy in 2003, Deion Branch in 2006, Richard Seymour in 2009, or Welker this year, Brady said it is just part of the business.
“I don’t think anything surprises me anymore in the NFL,” Brady said. “I’ve been around long enough to see different things happen at different times with the greatest players of all, whether that’s Wes, or Randy Moss being traded from the Raiders [to the Patriots] or Brett Favre playing for the Jets and Vikings. That’s what happens.”
Asked if he was angry that the Patriots let Welker walk, Brady would not open up.
“Of course I have feelings, but those feelings are very personal to me. I used to get caught up in anger and frustration and disappointment, but I don’t make the decisions,” he said. “Those things aren’t up to me. At some point you’ve got to realize the things that are out of your control.”
To no one’s surprise, the Patriots signed Danny Amendola in free agency, completing the deal just before Welker opted to join Peyton Manning in Denver.
Brady doesn’t think it is right to compare Welker with Amendola. “Wes was so productive for so long, I think it’s unfair to compare anyone to Wes and what he was able to accomplish in his time here,’’ he said.
But so far, Brady likes working with Amendola.
“It’s been fun to work with him. He’s got the tenacity to him and the drive and the determination and the work ethic,” he said. “In a short period of time, it’s really easy to see.
“He’s one of those guys where the more we throw, the better we’re going to be. So we’re trying to always kind of talk and communicate through practice, through OTAs. We threw in the spring a lot, and hopefully as the summer continues, leading up to training camp, we’ll get as many reps as we can together so we’re on the same page.”
Brady wants tight end Rob Gronkowski, who underwent a fourth surgery on his left arm on Monday and is also dealing with a back problem, back on the field as quickly as possible, just as he would any teammate.
“He’s dealing with his situation . . . I want him out there helping the team win,” Brady said. “He’s been battling through a long time. His mental toughness and excitement and what he brings to the team are really unmatched.
“When he is healthy, I’ll be excited to have him out there. It will be nice to see what our offense can be like when Aaron [Hernandez] is out there and Rob’s out there and all the other guys that have been injured are out there and can contribute fully to the team.”
Griffin speaks out
Robert Griffin III said he cried after his knee surgery and changed his cellphone passcode to the date of the Redskins season opener as he began his rehabilitation process. The QB took part in an offseason practice session in which he wore a large black brace and ran drills with other teammates recovering from injuries. Griffin said he’s ‘‘hashed things out’’ with coach Mike Shanahan, who was widely criticized for leaving Griffin in the game after the quarterback was injured during the playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Griffin remains confident he will play in that season opener on Sept. 9 . . . Former LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu signed a four-year contract with the Cardinals. The team’s third-round draft pick, Mathieu did not play last season after repeated off-field issues. Nicknamed ‘‘Honey Badger,’’ Mathieu was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2011. He was kicked off LSU’s team before the start of last season for failed drug tests . . . Prosecutors said Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent has violated conditions of his bond and want it revoked pending trial on an intoxicated manslaughter charge. Brent is free on a $100,000 bond after being charged in the Dec. 8 crash that killed practice squad player Jerry Brown Jr., a passenger in the car. Police say Brent had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit for driving. Prosecutors allege Brent violated conditions of his release by tampering with a device that monitors his body for the presence of alcohol. That device raised one such alert.