FOXBORO, Mass. — Blame it on the absence of Julian Edelman or regression by the offensive line. Either way, no New England Patriots fan can be happy with the number of hits Tom Brady has taken this season.
The 40-year-old quarterback has been sacked 16 times through five games and has absorbed 33 hits in all. He’s still managed to be one of the NFL’s most effective signal-callers, ranking first or second in the league in passing yards, yards per attempt and passer rating.
Brady also is tied for third with 11 touchdown passes and has thrown just one interception.
Now, the longtime Patriots star reportedly is dealing with a sprained AC joint in his left (non-throwing) shoulder — an injury that he is expected to play through when New England visits the New York Jets this weekend. Brady has not missed a game because of injury since 2008, when a torn ACL knocked him out for the season.
Asked Wednesday about Brady’s ability to weather blows like this and remain on the field, Patriots coach Bill Belichick applauded the QB’s toughness.
“Tom’s as physically and mentally tough as any player I’ve coached,” Belichick said. “No doubt about that.”
Though he’s expected to play Sunday, Brady was not on the field to begin practice Tuesday. Asked whether Brady would return to practice Wednesday, Belichick predictably pointed reporters to the injury report that will be released later in the afternoon.
“We’ll put an injury report out after practice like we always do,” he said.
Earlier this month, Belichick scoffed at the notion of limiting Brady’s hits, reminding a reporter that football is “a contact sport” and asking: “Should we run the ball 70 times a game?”
Thumbnail photo via Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports Images
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