Cleaning out the Brady notebook

May, 4, 2013
5/04/13
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Seth Wickersham of ESPN The Magazine profiled Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in a must-read piece, and his notebook was overflowing. Here are some of the "leftovers" from Wickersham's notebook from his time with Brady:

1. Staying focused on the moment. "I’m not really a reflective person. I don’t think back, like nostalgia. Maybe there will come a time for that. I just think, I love doing what I’m doing. I love playing. I love the preparation. I love training for playing. I love thinking about playing. I love talking about playing. I love talking about working out. I love talking about ways to improve. I get a lot of questions 'What’s next? What do you want to do after that? I don’t know. Who cares? I love really what I’m doing now. ... I’m sure things will change, and things will always change and evolve for me. It’s not always about what’s next. Funny—you see it in college coaches and pro coaches a lot. Job to job to job to job to job. A guy wins and then he leaves. And in some ways you think, why can’t you just find a place you love, and just do it the best you can do it, for as long as you can do it for? Especially if you love what you’re doing. But I think everyone’s grass is always greener, and I should move on and try something else and a new challenge, but I think it’s within us is what makes us motivated. If you can find that motivation every day doing what you do, then just for me that’s what works for me. I think that’s a big part of the decision making process for me, whether it’s my career, or my personal relationships or my friendships, there are reasons why they work. You don’t always have to change the environment. A lot of times it’s changing yourself and changing your own perspective."

2. On being able to detatch from football. "No. It’s all consuming. There isn’t a moment that I don’t think about playing. As I walk by the mirror in the morning I’ll go through a throwing mechanic. It’s just ingrained in every aspect of my life. There’s no off button. And I guess I’ve experienced a lot of things in my life, and there’s nothing -- I mean, I love my family and I love my kids, and that’s a part of my life and football is a part of my life -- but there’s not many other things. Like, golf is my favorite hobby and I love golf, but if I never play another day of golf in my life it would never bother me. I’d be, 'OK, no problem.'"

3. On the biggest complication of his daily life. "You know, I know how to navigate my life now. Healthy boundaries are important. To set them for myself. I probably didn’t have those when I was younger. I let everyone else dictate what would go on in my life. I think it’s really important for me to say 'no, I’m not comfortable doing that' and to have no obligation or guilt saying that. Because it’s important me to have time with my family, or this isn’t your time it’s family time, or this is my time. For some people to go out there, it really invigorates them. I think I’m naturally a shy person. When I’m around people it’s more draining than invigorating. So I really have to pick my spots. So I end up being much more of a homebody. I want to have my energy for my teammates. When I go to work, I put it out there. So it’s not like I can do that, and then go out to a restaurant and shake hands with 20, 25 people. It gets to the point that I’m tired, I don’t have the energy to be what everyone else -- the experience that, when I was a young kid I had a chance to meet, whether it was Will Clark or Chili Davis or Dwight Clark or Roger Craig or Tom Rathman, these athletic heroes of mine. I remember each of those experiences, and I really don’t want a little boy from Framingham to go, 'God, I met Tom Brady and he was like, buzz off kid.' So I’m really conscious of that but there’s also times where I don’t feel like saying, 'Hey, good to meet you! So what I do is I don’t go out and I don’t put myself in a position to be Tom Brady, the quarterback. I want to be Tom Brady, the dad with my kids and that’s really a balance."

4. On the 'tough' Boston media. "People always say, 'Oh, the media in Boston are so hard, how do you deal with that?' I’m like, 'the media in Boston have been so great. Are you kidding me? They’ve never said a bad thing about me.' I’ve been very fortunate in that sense. And we’ve won a lot of games, and hopefully I never give them a reason. That’s what drives me."

5. On statistics that matter most to him. "When we lead the league in scoring, that’s cool. When we’re 19 for 19 inside the 2-yard line, like we were in 2003, 2004, that’s pretty awesome. If we set a first down record, I think that’s pretty cool. To throw for 68 percent, that doesn’t mean a lot. To go undefeated in the regular season, that’s pretty cool."

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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