It’s been anything but an ordinary offseason for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
The thrill of winning Super Bowl XLIX has been tempered somewhat by the Patriots quarterback’s continued battle with the NFL over his four-game Deflategate suspension. The court appearances and news stories would be enough to throw any player off his game, but Brady’s teammates are confident he’ll handle the situation the right way.
Among those who have his back is special teams ace Matthew Slater, who like Brady is a prominent leader in the Patriots’ locker room.
“I think Tom is the ultimate professional,” Slater said Monday during an appearance on WEEI’s “Dale & Holley” radio show. “His focus is laser-like. He loves the game of football. He’s always going to do whatever he can to put the team first and to be a great teammate and have himself prepared.
“You really appreciate playing with a guy like Tom. You really appreciate his body of work he’s been able to put together over the course of his career. I know he’ll handle this like a professional and it’s up to the other 89 guys on this team to get themselves better, to continue to prepare and to continue to make steps in the right direction.”
Slater added that Brady and linebacker Jerod Mayo — who along with Slater were three of the team’s six captains last season — are the two biggest leaders on the team this year.
The Patriots will need all the leadership they can get after veteran Vince Wilfork’s departure in the offseason. Judging by Slater’s comments, though, it sounds like the team still is in good hands.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images