Obviously, the entire team views Brady as the ultimate on-field leader, but his attendance over the last two weeks has been significant for a team that is less than three months removed from its loss in Super Bowl XLVI.
"Most importantly, this is the time you build your camaraderie with your teammates, and it's fun," said wide receiver Deion Branch, a longtime friend of Brady's. "You really get to see the guys who love the game, who love to be around each other. After a while, after four, five, six months, we're tired of each other. But the beginning phase is always good to see who's here, who's excited about the upcoming season. You see the urge that the guys have. I think we're all looking forward to the season."
The Patriots' new additions have been well-documented, too, so it's key for them to report to Gillette Stadium and see the face of the franchise alongside them. Brady, who reported later than usual to the last set of voluntary workouts in 2010, has been the leader they hope to see.
Lastly, strength and conditioning coach Harold Nash is running his first set of offseason workouts. Nash took over the role from Mike Woicik, who rejoined the Cowboys last year, after serving as Woicik's understudy since 2005.
Branch noted it's eased Nash's transition that Brady, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo have been present to show their solidarity for the new program, which is also under different restrictions due to the new collective bargaining agreement.
With Brady in the mix, the Patriots know they've got to live up to his expectations, and that's always an important factor at this point in the offseason.
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