Plenty of Brady’s teammates and a handful of celebrities were on hand for the touch football game, which also included Best Buddies participants and supporters. Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski, linebacker Jerod Mayo, tackle Nate Solder, center Dan Koppen, wide receiver Julian Edelman, quarterback Brian Hoyer, offensive lineman Nick McDonald and punter Zoltan Mesko were among the players in attendance.
Best Buddies is an organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Brady has been an advocate of the organization since the beginning of his New England career, and he helped the charitable effort by launching the football game. He stressed the importance of being active in the community and supporting a worthy cause.
“It’s really stressed by our ownership, and I think the players really enjoy it,” Brady said. “They take part in special nights like this, whether Zoltan is having ‘ZoliOke’ in a few weeks, taking over for Larry (Izzo’s karaoke event), Jerod has his ‘Mayo Bowl,’ which is a lot of fun. There’s a lot of guys. Joe Andruzzi has done a lot for this community. It’s important. We have an opportunity to make a difference, and a lot of guys take that opportunity and do some great things with it.”
Brady played quarterback for both teams during the game, and there was a celebrity tailgate and private concert afterward.
“Hopefully next year, it’s an even bigger event, and we grow, and we raise more money and more awareness for all these wonderful Buddies,” Brady said.
Brady and Hoyer have always been incredibly competitive during practice, most notably during a training camp barrel drill, in which the quarterbacks practice lofted throws to the end zone by trying to sink the ball into a barrel.
Hoyer has owned Brady in that drill, which caused its stoppage last season. Last night, Hoyer chalked up another victory by intercepting one of Brady’s passes and nearly returning it for a touchdown. To Hoyer’s dismay, a much faster Edelman caught him before the goal line.
“He’s a lot faster than Brian,” Brady said of Edelman. “Thank God he’s faster than Brian.” …
“That would suck,” Brady said.
Hands of steel
Solder went to the University of Colorado as a tight end before making the move to left tackle. Last night showed a glimpse as to why.
Solder dropped an easy touchdown pass early in the game. Then Brady went back to Solder on the next series, but that downfield heave skittered through Solder’s outstretched hands.
So, when the public address announcer called out Solder in the middle of the action for having the biggest drop of the game, all Solder could do was laugh and put his palms into the air. He had no retort for the verbal bomb, either.
“Well, I did have the biggest drop of the game,” Solder said. “So I understand that.”