Tom Brady knows his Week 4 return to Gillette Stadium — which he acknowledged likely will be his final trip to Foxborough before the end of his career — is a big moment on next year’s NFL calendar.
He still doesn’t seem entirely ready to talk about what it will mean to him personally, however.
In a Town Hall appearance with Jim Gray on Sirius XM that aired Wednesday, Brady called the attention paid to the Oct. 3 matchup between the Patriots and Buccaneers “natural” given his history with the organization.
“I’m not naive to the fact that there are some marquee games that you always look at over the course of the season,” Brady said. “A matchup of places guys have been vs. where they are now, or brothers playing one another, or former Super Bowl teams … It’s just natural. There’s more build up.”
But for the bulk of his answer, Brady focused on the Buccaneers. He talked about getting through training camp and the first three weeks of the season, and he said he believes the Buccaneers could still improve even after winning the Super Bowl.
“I thought we got really good toward the later end of the season, and I thought we were still an ascending football team,” Brady said. “Even when we played in the Super Bowl, I felt like, ‘Man, we left some points out there.’ … I don’t think any of us on our team felt like we were a finished product.”
The most Brady would offer was that the Patriots are a “great organization” with “great players.”
“It’ll be a great opportunity to go back to a place I know as well as anywhere,” Brady said. “It’ll be a great day for football.”
More takeaways from Brady’s appearance:
▪ Brady no longer lives in former Yankees star Derek Jeter’s house after Jeter sold the property for $22.5 million. Part of Brady’s offseason has been finding a new house. He told Gray the new place belongs to “just a guy we know.”
“Thank you, Derek,” Brady said. “It was a great year in that house.”
▪ Brady enjoyed the Buccaneers’ boat parade in Tampa Bay, something the Patriots could never have put together in the middle of an icy cold New England winter.
When asked whether his infamous trophy toss was the “best throw or worst throw ever,” Brady called it his “highest-risk toss.”
“Little did I know at the time it was 80 feet of water I guess, had that not been a completion,” Brady said. “Fortunately my boy Cam Brate on the other side of the reception made a great catch. We were all over-served that day, so it could have slipped through his hands and could have been pretty messy. Very happy that wasn’t the case and he made a great catch.”
▪ Brady was even more evasive when Gray asked if Brady — given his recent golf match with Aaron Rodgers — expects the Packers star to begin the season in Green Bay.
“I certainly expect him to be playing,” Brady said. “I don’t know the intricate details of that relationship, but it’s hard to find a great quarterback in the NFL. Aaron has been one of the premier quarterbacks since he came in the league.”
In April, ESPN reported that Rodgers no longer wants to play for the Packers, although the organization has publicly expressed a commitment to keeping him.
“In some respects, it’s very difficult to see someone else move on, but at the same time, there’s business elements that nobody really knows, and what was said, and what was thought about or relationships that are important to us emotionally,” Brady said. “I think some things still need to get worked out over the next 2-6 weeks before the opener, but I certainly expect Aaron to play.”
Tom Brady says he can’t believe teams passed on signing him when he was a free agent: “I think it’d be a no-brainer if you said, ‘Hey, you’ve got a chance to get Wayne Gretzky on your team, or you got a chance to have Michael Jordan on your team.’“— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) July 22, 2021
▪ Does Brady have any interest in coaching after his playing career?
“No,” Brady said flatly. “That would be the very short answer to a detailed question.”
Brady said he’s often asked about leadership by everyone from kids to players to CEOs, all of whom are interested in how he maintains peak performance. He said he’s happy to pass on knowledge about discipline and teamwork, recognizing all of the people who helped him over the years.
“I definitely don’t want to coach,” Brady said. “Believe me. It’s not what I would ever want to do. I’ve never had the desire to coach. I’ve had the desire to play, which is essentially what I’ve done.”
▪ Somehow, the Brady family does not own any of his rookie cards.
“If anybody thought I’d be playing 22 years beyond the year 2000 when I was signing those rookie cards, that would have been an amazing bet,” Brady said. “We didn’t have the foresight.”
That’s unfortunate for Brady — a signed rookie card sold for $3.1 million in June.
“Whoever got them, congratulations,” Brady said. “Go make that money. Sell it. Hopefully buy yourself a house.”
▪ Brady has often expressed a desire to play until he’s 45. Now, after winning a Super Bowl at 43, the natural follow-up is whether he will continue playing beyond his target age.
“Yeah, I think I’ve got to get to that point first and then just evaluate how I feel and where I’m at with my life,” Brady said. “Things change as you get older. There’s a lot of different responsibilities that I have in my life. My kids and my family are certainly very important, and they made a lot of sacrifices over a long period of time to watch me play. I owe it to them too.”
When asked about working with longtime trainer Alex Guerrero, Brady described the process of making his body more pliable, saying that “the body doesn’t know time.”
“I play because I love the game,” Brady said. “I play because I love to compete. We shouldn’t stop our life when we love something because somebody put an arbitrary timeline on that.”