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    Tom Brady discusses his longtime friendship with Donald Trump

    Tom Brady and Donald Trump are old pals, but would the New England Patriots quarterback vote for Trump in the GOP primary?

    Donald Trump, left, spoke to Tom Brady prior to the start of a Patriots playoff game in 2004.
    Elise Amendola/Associated Press/file
    Donald Trump (left) spoke to Tom Brady prior to the start of a Patriots playoff game in 2004.

    WASHINGTON – Tom Brady as cabinet secretary? Why not vice president?

    The Patriots quarterback confirmed Tuesday that he has one of Donald Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hats displayed in his locker, and he revealed that he and Trump have a longstanding friendship.

    “I’ve known him for a long time,” Brady said on WEEI. “You know, he always gives me a call and different types of motivational speeches at different times. So now that he’s running for president, he sent me a hat. And he gave it to [Bob Kraft] a couple weeks ago, so it found its way to my locker.”

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    Brady said he first met Trump in 2002, when he judged one of Trump’s beauty pageants, and they’ve since golfed together many times.

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    “We’ve had a lot of time on the golf course together over the years,” Brady said. “Probably not as much recently, but in my younger days when I would have more time that I could spend doing those types of things, before there were kids, we spent a lot of time golfing together and so forth.”

    Politicians have long benefitted by tying themselves to popular athletes (and Brady may be the only one at the moment who could challenge Trump’s polling numbers in New Hampshire).

    But Trump has long been a big cheerleader for Brady, repeatedly defending Brady against accusations that he deflated footballs.

    In May, when the NFL announced it was suspending Brady for four games, Trump went on a twitter tirade.

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    “They had no definitive proof against Tom Brady or #patriots. If Hillary doesn’t have to produce Emails, why should Tom? Very unfair!” he wrote.

    And then: “People are so jealous of Tom Brady and the Patriots. No court could convict based on the evidence. They can’t beat him on the field, so this!”

    Trump later posted a video on his Instagram account, saying, “If I were Tom Brady, I’d sue the hell out of the NFL for defatmation: $250 million. Sue em, Tom! They’ll settle so fast, your head will spin.”

    Last week, after Brady was cleared to play following a legal suit, Trump tweeted his congratulations. “Tom is my friend and a total winner!”

    In a recent interview with the Globe, Trump mentioned several times that he was friendly with Brady, and the Patriots organization.

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    “You know I have a lot of friends up there, including the great Tom Brady,” Trump said. “And Coach Belichick and Bob Kraft, they’re great friends of mine.”

    “Tom Brady,” he added, “what a great guy he is.”

    The feeling is mutual. Although Brady demurred when asked whether he will vote for Trump.

    “Am I going to vote for him? That’s a good question,” Brady said. “Honestly, he’s a good friend…It’s pretty amazing what he’s been able to accomplish as an entrepreneur – a television star and now running for political office. People who can do those types of things and transition into different arenas and still have that type of appeal and carryover -- he’s obviously appealing to a lot of people.”

    “And he’s a hell of a lot of fun to play golf with.”

    Matt Viser can be reached at matt.viser@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mviser.