FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The crowd gathered at the New England Patriots’ training camp broke into the first of several choruses of “Happy Birthday” on Wednesday.

Tom Brady, who turned 39, waved to the crowd, then went back to work.

Brady, who will miss the first four games of the regular season because of his Deflategate suspension, is allowed to practice until the Patriots make their final roster cuts, then has to be away from the team.

For now it’s business as usual as Brady works with his likely replacement, Jimmy Garoppolo, and rookie Jacoby Brissett.

Brady hasn’t spoken to reporters in camp but his birthday was a center of attention.

“He didn’t get it (from his teammates) too bad today,” said safety Devin McCourty. “I tried to make a wish for him, we celebrate his birthday with some interceptions but he wasn’t for it. There were no interceptions today.”


Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, a new Brady teammate, marveled at what Brady can do at his age.

“It hit me today when I realized he was born in the 1970s,” Knighton said. “I don’t know how he’s doing it but he’s doing it at a high level. I feel bad for everybody that goes against him. He’s not slowing.”

Reminded Brady would hear the 70s quote, Knighton said, “That’s cool, that’s cool. I told him ‘Happy birthday, old man,’ today but I still got a few more words for him once I get back in the locker room.”

Asked if he could think of a gift you can give Brady, Knighton said, “Not at all. I think that at this point he should be buying everyone gifts for making it through 39.”

Garoppolo, asked what he got his mentor, said, “I can’t tell you guys that. Come on.”

Coach Bill Belichick had another view.


“Well, first of all, I don’t think we want to miss Chris Barker’s birthday as long as we’re celebrating,” Belichick said.

Belichick, asked about Brady’s work ethic getting him to 39 and still playing well, said, “Yeah, no question, Tom works hard. (He) works very hard at all phases of the game. I think you have to, to play as long as he has.”

Barker, a defensive lineman, turned 26.

“I take a little piece of pride every time somebody in the crowd says, ‘Happy birthday Brady,’ ” he said. “I just change it to Barker in my head.”

Asked if he heard anyone wish him a happy birthday, Barker said, “Tom did, so that’s all I needed right there. In the locker room right before we came out he said ‘happy birthday’ and I said ‘happy birthday’ right back.”

Reminded his coach gave him a shout-out earlier, Barker said, “That’s a present right there. That’s good enough for me.”

NOTES: Rookie tight end Bryce Williams, trying to make the team as an undrafted free agent, had his left knee wrapped in ice for most of practice. … Wide Chris Hogan reportedly won’t be out long with a shoulder injury.

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