FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady credits his strict health and fitness regimen for his ability to remain an elite quarterback after his 40th birthday.
But it takes more than avocado ice cream and resistance bands to keep Brady’s body in peak physical condition. It also takes smarts — the know-how to determine when to fight for an extra yard and when to go down and avoid the potential for injury.
“Decision making’s important for all players,” the New England Patriots quarterback said Wednesday. “I tell the receivers all the time: If you catch the ball in traffic and you’re a 190-pound receiver, you’ve got 240-pound linebackers, to run and take that amount of force for 1 extra yard, and then you miss three games, I don’t think that helps us very much. Same as a quarterback.”
For Brady, that involves falling on his left (non-throwing) shoulder whenever possible.
“You do have to learn how to find a way down in a way that you’ll be able to get up and try to play the next play,” he said. “For me, more so than anything, I try to land on my left shoulder (rather) than my right shoulder, because I’ve only got one right shoulder, and I need this for a lot of throws. The more hits you take on it, the harder it is to take. So I just do the best I can do.
“There’s some luck involved, but let’s go again, baby. Line them up and play.”
That strategy has worked for Brady so far. He’s suffered just one serious injury since he entered the NFL in 2000: an ACL tear that forced him to miss nearly the entire 2008 season.
The 40-year-old said he actually feels less pain after games now than he did earlier in his career — even after ones like last Sunday’s, during which the Houston Texans sacked him five times and knocked him to the group on several other plays.
“It probably depends on the game,” Brady said. “I’m feeling pretty good today. Honestly, I know you guys think I’m crazy when I say it, but probably when I was younger, it was a lot harder for me. Now, I actually feel better, faster, based on the things I do. So today, I feel good. I feel good.”
Thumbnail photo via Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports Images
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