FOXBOROUGH — Tom Brady wouldn’t talk about the latest regarding Antonio Brown off the field, and was even cautious getting into how it’s gone getting the Patriots’ newest wide receiver up to speed on the field on Wednesday.
“I’m just trying to show up and play football, try to prepare,” Brady said. “Miami is a good team. Get ready for them. Things that don’t involve me, don’t involve me.”
Brown practiced for the first time with the Patriots on Wednesday, a day after he was accused of sexual assault and rape in a civil lawsuit. Brady said he had nothing to say about the allegations.
NBC play-by-play announcer Al Michaels said during the “Sunday Night Football” broadcast that Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told him that Brady had offered to open his home to the receiver as he gets settled in New England. Brady thought that information was going to be kept private, he said Sunday night after the game, and still didn’t want to talk about it Wednesday. He didn’t say if Brown was staying at his house when the news of the allegations broke Tuesday night.
“I’m not getting into that,” Brady said.
Even when it came to discussing impressions of his first practice with Brown, who has put up six straight seasons of 1,200 receiving yards or more, Brady sounded like he was doing everything possible not to hype the situation.
“I think like all of us there’s a lot of work to do,” Brady said. “We have a long way to go. Where we’re at today is very different than where we’re going to be weeks from now. So, just going to try to take it one at a time.
“I think all of the, ‘It could be this great, it could be that,’ that’s for everyone else to discuss, but not us. We have to go out there and do it. And to do it takes a lot of hard work and effort and commitment, but if you focus on the short-term goals over a period of time those things can take care of themselves.”
Brown had a locker in the Patriots’ locker room for the first time on Wednesday, two down from Brady’s and also next to Phillip Dorsett.
Brady did say, jokingly, that that’s the place to be for a new Patriot.
“That’s like Park Place and Broadway,” he said. “That area of our locker room, that’s the high-rent district.”
Brady and Brown do have something in common in the fact that they were both sixth-round draft picks. Brady was drafted No. 199 overall in 2000, and Brown was drafted No. 195 overall in 2010.
Brady said he thinks late-round picks or undrafted players have some qualities that have bound him to many teammates, including Julian Edelman. Brady listed “continuous improvement, discipline, hard work” among those qualities.
“I think sometimes it’s a disadvantage when you’re a high pick, everyone tells you how great you are all the time, you get more opportunity than everybody else,” Brady said. “I think the things that are sustainable are hard work, discipline, commitment, and I’d say we’ve had a lot of players over the years that have fit that mold.”
Most NFL players, and especially Brady, are good at compartmentalizing, but the Brown situation is still delicate. Other captains such as Matthew Slater and Devin McCourty spoke Wednesday and acknowledged the severity of the accusations against their teammate. The impression given was that there could be some mixed feelings about Brown — excitement about his talent, desire to welcome a new teammate with open arms, determination not to judge with incomplete information, concern over the allegations, frustration at being put in a position requiring them to answer for him — in the locker room, but that the edict to keep the focus on Sunday’s opponent, the Dolphins, is supposed to supercede them.
For Brady, a tone-setter who needs chemistry on the field with receivers, not to mention one who might be staying in his house, that’s magnified.