It’s easy for Patriots fans to imagine Tom Brady being irked when longtime friend and productive teammate Wes Welker signed with the Broncos this offseason after the Patriots failed to give much of a chase. But heading into his 14th year in the league, Brady has seen his share of personnel moves, and — like any good quarterback looking down the field — he’s adjusted his approach.
Brady went on Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning and talked about how the Patriots are doing as the players put in time at organized team activities. One big area of curiosity continues to be the departure of Welker.
While Welker leaving may have blindsided some people, Brady sounded prepared for the turn of events.
“I used to get caught up in anger and frustration and disappointment,” he said of watching the Patriots make personnel moves. “But I don’t make the decisions. These things aren’t up to me. At some point you’ve got to realize the things that are out of your control.”
Brady has had experience leading the team as the front office changes the pieces around him.
“I don’t think anything surprises me any more in the NFL,” he said. “I’ve been around long enough to see things happen at different times with the greatest players of all, whether that’s Wes, or Randy Moss being traded from the Raiders, or Brett Favre playing for the Jets and the Vikings. That’s what happens. Like I said, it’s a very tough, competitive business.
“Nobody appreciated Wes more than I did and what he was able to accomplish for our team. But he’s moved on. He’s in a good situation with another great team and a great quarterback. We’ve always kind of kept in touch. We always will. He’s one of my best friends. I certainly wish him the best.”
One of the major undercurrents as Welker left was that it appeared the Patriots had cleared space to keep him — and specifically that Brady had been part of clearing that space. After Brady restructured his contract, many assumed it was so his pal would return to New England.
Brady denied any “demands” Thursday, saying he restructured his deal for the good of the entire team.
“I have all the trust in the world that Mr. [Robert] Kraft and Jonathan [Kraft] and coach [Bill] Belichick will do that,” he said. “… That was kind of a value proposition for me, wanting to be in this system with coach Belichick and the other players that I’ve been able to play with. I think we are going to field a competitive team. It’s competitive thus far through the offseason conditioning program and through the OTAs thus far.
“We’ve been close. We were in the Super Bowl two years ago. We were in the AFC championship last year. I know we have a good team.”
Kraft has denied that Brady asked for anything in return for the contract restructuring, and Brady reiterated Thursday that his personal feelings are separate from the management of the team, of which he says he wants no part.
“Of course I have feelings. But those feelings are very personal to me,” he said. “… You’ve just got to let go and focus on my job and what I need to do. Because the game moves on, the team moves on. There’s only so long you can dwell on the past. At some point you’ve got to move forward.
“Like I said, my job for my team is to be the best quarterback, and not the general manager and not the coach and not the owner. It’s to try to go out there and bring my own competitiveness to the field so that those guys that I’m playing with this year can really rely on me and count on me to be the best I can be.”
No matter who’s catching his passes underneath.