FOXBORO, Mass. — Deflategate appears to be the last thing on Tom Brady’s mind as he’s narrowed his focus on New England Patriots training camp. Brady is letting Patriots owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick (kind of) and his teammates do the talking and fighting for him four days into camp. The face of the Patriots has yet to address the media, and it seems he’s unlikely to do so anytime soon.
Brady still faces a four-game suspension for his “more probable than not” involvement in Deflategate, and the NFL Player Association’s lawyers are preparing for a lawsuit later this month that the quarterback hopes will eliminate that ban. Meanwhile, Brady is tearing it up, as usual, in training camp, all while being reminded that Jimmy Garoppolo might start the first four games of the Patriots’ 2015 season with a constant barrage of “FREE BRADY” chants and signs stemming from the 10,000 fans gathered around the Patriots practice fields each day.
Brady is 57 of 73 in 11-on-11 drills through four practices and 25 of 32 in 7-on-7 drills. He’s completing 78.1 percent of his passes in team drills, all while showing his usual fire and passion. It came out at the end of Day 4 of training camp, when the Patriots offense faced off against the defense in a goal-line drill. The period began with Brady targeting tight end Scott Chandler in the back-right corner of the end zone. Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins was in perfect coverage and deflected the ball.
The Patriots then handed off on three consecutive snaps, and the Patriots’ offense scored each time. Brady started giving it to his defense with some good-natured, but loud, trash talk, pointing out his offense couldn’t be stopped. Malcolm Butler was on the receiving end of Brady’s ribbing and pinpoint accuracy earlier in practice. Brady had wide receiver Julian Edelman matched up against the Super Bowl-hero cornerback to his right side on the final rep of 1-on-1 drills.
Brady dropped back and fired a pass where only Edelman could leap up and grab the ball. As Edelman landed, he spun the ball by Butler’s fallen feet, then Brady ran over and chest-bumped Edelman to throw an exclamation point on the play. The lesson to Butler? Don’t dare Brady to throw your way, even when the world appears to be caving in on the legendary quarterback. The Patriots are masters of “ignoring the noise,” but usually the commotion isn’t this loud or prolonged.
It’s not all business as usual for Brady, who doesn’t even walk by the collected media after practice, but his performance in training camp thus far is proof that no distraction is too big to overcome when playing for the Patriots.
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