FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady returned to the New England Patriots’ practice field Wednesday after a month-long absence, and his receivers couldn’t have been happier to see him.
“We’re excited to have our friend back,” wide receiver Danny Amendola said. “And he’s a good football player. … Obviously, everyone’s psyched, for sure.”
“It?s always exciting,” tight end Rob Gronkowski added. “He?s the leader of our offense. He?s a great player, and it?s exciting to get TB back, man.”
With Brady now back in the fold after serving his four-game Deflategate suspension, the Patriots have an established presence under center for the first time this season. New England’s replacement quarterbacks, backup Jimmy Garppolo and third-string rookie Jacoby Brissett, both made their first NFL starts during Brady’s ban.
The Patriots were much more run-heavy with Garoppolo and Brissett running the show than they typically are, ranking second in the NFL in rushing attempts and third-to-last in pass attempts so far this season.
“No matter who it is at quarterback, you?ve always got to prepare the same,” Gronkowski said of team’s mindset this week. “I?ve got to prepare myself every single week. The demeanor has been the same throughout the building. We?ve got to prepare every single week to the max, so it?s just like any other week, except Tom?s back at quarterback, baby.”
Brady, who was allowed to rejoin the team Monday, is expected to make his regular-season debut Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
“He looks great,” Amendola said. “Tan, happy, pumped, and we’re all really excited to get to work.”
Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images