FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady is preparing to do something he hasn’t done since entering the NFL in 2000: watch a New England Patriots regular-season opener from home.
Brady’s Deflategate suspension, which will keep him away from the team for the first four weeks of the season, begins at 4 p.m. ET Saturday, and the quarterback acknowledged sitting out will be a struggle.
“I wish I played every game,” Brady said Tuesday morning. “I love playing. I love playing in practice. I love playing preseason games, regular-season games, postseason games. I love thinking about football. That’s just the way it is. That part, I think, will be very challenging, watching those games in September. But I’ll find ways to preoccupy my mind.”
Brady’s last extended absence from the Patriots came in 2008, when a torn ACL suffered in Week 1 knocked him out for the rest of the season.
“That was tough,” he said. “Because I was going so much at that time physically, there was no way I really could — after the surgery and dealing with what I was dealing with, it was hard to think about a lot of other things, because it was so intense with what I was going through. So, I think it will be a little bit different.”
Matt Cassel started in Brady’s place that season, leading the Patriots to an 11-5 record and falling short of a playoff berth. This year, Jimmy Garoppolo will fill that role, at least until Brady is eligible to return in Week 5.
Brady declined to reveal how he plans to spend his four weeks away from Gillette Stadium. He also didn’t give any indication of whether he’ll play Thursday night against the New York Giants in the Patriots’ preseason finale. He did say he hopes to suit up, and that he plans to come back stronger than ever once his suspension is through.
“My goal is to come back and be the best I can be,” Brady said. “Just like every other year, every other offseason. I’m going to do the best I can do over these next 30 days or so to do the same thing. … I have another, hopefully, opportunity to play on Thursday night and then be with the team Friday, and then try to do the best I can over the next month. …
“It will be tough to watch, but I’ll be excited to watch and excited to learn. And hopefully when I come back in October, I’ll be better than I am today.”
Thumbnail photo via Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports Images
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