HOUSTON — Brycen Bolden is the son of a professional athlete. And if that’s not cool enough, his dad is friends with Tom Brady.
When the Patriots won the AFC Championship Game over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 22, one of the first players Brady embraced was Brandon Bolden, New England’s fourth-string running back and special-teams ace.
Sometimes Bolden still needs to pinch himself to believe he’s friends with perhaps the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL.
“My son kind of reminds me every now and then,” Bolden said. “He’s like, ‘Tom Brady gave you a hug after the game.’ I’m like, ‘He sure did.’ ‘Wow.’ Then we’ll be watching highlights and stuff like that.
“When I go home, that’s usually the first question I get. I go back to my high school, and that’s the first question they ask is like, ‘So, are you and Tom Brady as close as it seems?’ I’m like, ‘That’s Tom Brady. That’s my boy.’ It’s been cool just coming in as a rookie in 2012 and fast forwarding to now, I never thought me and Tom Brady would be as tight as we are today.”
When you think of Brady’s best friends on the Patriots, Julian Edelman and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels first come to mind. And when you think of Bolden, it’s tough to picture him without fellow running backs LeGarrette Blount, James White and Dion Lewis close behind. But the bromance between Brady and Bolden also is real.
“Brandon is one of the best teammates I’ve ever had,” Brady said Wednesday. “He’s just so selfless, he’s got the best personality. He’s the most positive person, plays any role that you ask him to. When I think of Brandon, I just think of all the things that have made so many of our great players on our Patriots team great. That’s his attitude, his toughness, his belief in himself. Last year, he actually played a lot more than he did this year. He just hasn’t got the opportunity. He’s spectacular. He’s a great player, and he’s a great teammate and a great friend. He’ll be a great friend of mine for our entire lives.”
Patriots players were asked Monday about their first impression of Brady. Bolden’s was “Oh my god, it’s Tom Brady.” So how has his initial impression changed?
“He’s a fun-loving guy if that’s anything I can say that has changed for me,” Bolden said. “I was able to have some conversations with Tom and know him as a person and not just know him as Tom Brady the GOAT. I know him as Tom Brady that puts his pants on in the locker room behind me. He’s a real personal guy, a real funny guy, loves to crack jokes. He just loves to talk. He’s so knowledgeable just from him being in the league for so long and him being the places he’s been and seen the things he’s seen. He’s such a great guy to talk to and learn a couple things from.”
Bolden and Brady were able to form the bond from time in meetings together. The quarterbacks and running backs don’t just meet separately. There’s meetings for the game plan, pass protection and the run game.
“I’ll pick his brain at any chance I get, just to see ‘what’s your first read? Should I take my time doing this?’ He’s an artist when it comes to the pass game,” Bolden said. “So that’s one guy you really do want to be on his side and just try to figure out what he’s thinking.”
Thumbnail photo via James Lang/USA TODAY Sports Images