FOXBORO, Mass. — Throw Tom Brady on the New England Patriots’ roster bubble — the starting quarterback is earning his keep like the rest of his 89 teammates.
Brady told themmqb.com’s Peter King last week that he’s not entitled to his starting role with the Patriots. Brady also said he had a “pretty good idea” that the team would draft a quarterback — which they did when they selected Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round.
“I’ve been pretty privileged and lucky to have the starting quarterback we’ve had for the last 14 years,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Thursday at Gillette Stadium. “And the way he takes care of himself and what he does, he’s out there earning his job every year. I hope every player models himself after the way he conducts himself.”
Brady’s skill obviously earns him that starting role every year, but the Patriots drafted Garoppolo in case that talent starts to fade over the next four years. Brady has shown little signs of slowing down, however.
“From my point of view, and I think from our organization, we believe that Tom has a lot of play left,” Kraft said on NFL Network. “The way he takes care of his body, the way he eats, the way he plays, the way he trains, people look up to him. At the same time, that’s a position if you don’t have someone strong at that position, look what happened how Tommy took over in that game after 9/11 when we delayed a week? Mo Lewis, our friend from the Jets, took Drew (Bledsoe) out and if we didn’t have someone like Tommy in our system, it would have been very devastating. In any business, you always need disaster insurance (for) the most important thing. And now we have a young man (Garoppolo) that I hope he’s as good as everyone feels. I also hope he doesn’t get a chance to start for a long, long time.”
Kraft expressed his desire for Brady to retire as a member of the Patriots.
“I sure hope so,” Kraft said on NFL Network. “We did something creative. He was a visionary and he allowed us to restructure his contract in a way that was good for us. I know I personally and our whole fan base only want to see him always have that Flying Elvis or Pat Patriot if we’re doing throwbacks.”