Tom Brady Says Patriots Need ‘Best Game’ Against Panthers, Bye Week Reminded Him ‘I Just Love Football’

Tom Brady, Adrian ClaybornThe bye week came at a good time for the Patriots, giving the players a chance to rest their bodies and clear their heads before going into the second half of the season.

But one famously competitive Patriot sounds like he didn’t take the week off — at least not mentally.

“I was talking to my wife two days ago and said, ‘I just love football,’” Tom Brady said on Dennis & Callahan on WEEI on Tuesday morning. “When it’s Sunday and everyone else is playing and you’re not, you’re a fish out of water. You’re watching, [and] if I’m not around a TV, I’m updating my phone every five minutes to see what’s going on with every score. It’s probably more anxious when you’re not playing because you’re watching games and thinking about outcomes and watching how teams are doing. That’s just the life of a football player. There wasn’t many moments when I wasn’t thinking about the game.”

Brady’s time off included a trip to the beach with his family, but he said Tuesday he was already looking ahead to New England’s next matchup. The Patriots play the recently resurgent Panthers on Monday night, which means an extra day of rest coming out of the bye week but also a tough opponent in their first game back. The Panthers shut down the 49ers last week in a 10-9 squeaker and quietly have staked a 6-3 record in the NFC South.

“It’s a tough team,” Brady said. “They’re physical, their front seven is as good as anybody — their pass rushers, their run-stoppers. They have playmakers in the secondary. So it has to be our best game, there is no doubt about it, on Monday Night Football. We’ll see what we’re made of.”

Brady said he was excited to get back to playing football after the time off. The Patriots, who have been uneven this season, had an emphatic win over the Steelers to get to 7-2 going into the bye, and they’ll look to keep the offense clicking and their injury-shaken defense moving forward in the second half — led by their always competitive signal caller.

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