Monday, March 10, 2014
By HOWARD ULMAN The Associated Press
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Tom Brady looks just fine. His fans and teammates are relieved.
Tom Brady did wear a knee brace at practice Thursday, but it was a similar brace to the one he wears in games and heavier than the one he wore Wednesday after spraining his left knee. The MRI was negative.
Photos by The Associated Press
Quarterback Tom Brady grabs his left knee after an apparent injury Wednesday during a joint workout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at training camp in Foxborough, Mass.
WHO: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots
WHEN: 8 p.m.
WHERE: Gillette Stadium
Brady, the key to the success of the New England Patriots, participated fully in a walkthrough Thursday. He jogged with other players at the start. He dropped back normally to pass. And he didn't limp.
An alarming situation -- he left Wednesday's practice with an apparent left knee injury -- was just a false alarm.
"I'm good," was all Brady told waiting media members as he walked off the practice field Thursday after removing the black brace he wore during the workout. "You can all go home."
After signing autographs and posing for pictures, Brady walked back into Gillette Stadium where he may or may not play in Friday night's exhibition against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Coach Bill Belichick didn't speak with reporters after the third and final day of joint practices with the Buccaneers.
Brady was knocked down by left tackle Nate Solder after releasing a pass midway through Wednesday's session. Solder had been pushed into Brady by Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn.
A person with knowledge of the situation said Brady sprained his left knee and an MRI was negative. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Patriots did not make an announcement about Brady's health.
But players knew quickly that their two-time league MVP was OK.
"Right after practice, actually. We got the news pretty quick," running back Stevan Ridley said. "It was a scary moment but really, with Tom, I know he's a competitor and he's going to do whatever to get him out there. I'm just glad they took him out, checked him out and made sure he was good. So my heart's at peace knowing that he's OK and knowing that nothing major's going on."
Brady suffered a season-ending injury to the same knee in the 2008 opener but hasn't missed a game since that year.
"That's our leader, man," Ridley said. "We ride with Tom Brady all the way and anytime you see somebody go down like that, kind of everything stops in front of you. But for us, we just have to move on and hope for the best and that's what we did, and we found out later that day at team meetings that he was OK and that was all the news that we needed to know, that our quarterback was going to be with us."
For a while, with no information coming out, fans wondered if Brady was hurt badly. Many of them expressed their concerns on Twitter.
"I think there were a lot of fans at home probably pulling out their hair," safety Devin McCourty said.
It was a big story until reports surfaced that the injury wasn't serious.
"I think you guys had more communication and more opinions than we did," McCourty told reporters. "We actually got to see him in the locker room and all that, so it wasn't as crazy as I think the media made it seem."
Solder even had a restful night despite his role.
"I didn't let it affect my sleep," he said. "It's part of the game."
The brace Brady wore Thursday was heavier than the one he had on a day earlier and similar to what he wears in games. He moved smoothly through the slow-speed walkthrough.
During a hurry-up drill, Brady dropped back and completed two passes to tight end Zach Sudfeld and one to Aaron Dobson against minimal coverage. There was no sign that his knee was hindering him.
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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady plays with his son Benjamin Thursday following the Patriots' joint workout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NFL football training camp in Foxborough, Mass.
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Tom Brady waits as his sons, John Moynahan, center, and Benjamin Brady, left, run to him following the Patriots' joint workout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday.
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Gisele Bundchen comforts her son Benjamin after he was hurt playing football, following a joint workout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots at NFL football training camp, in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday.