Tom Brady is tough as nails.
Sure, you’d hardly know it by looking at him. He’s the handsome quarterback with a supermodel wife and a truckload of endorsements; hardly the guy you’d expect to scratch and claw his way through an entire NFL season (or 18) if injuries start to crop up or he’s feeling down in the dumps.
Yet Brady, a five-time Super Bowl champion and arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history, has overcome plenty of bumps, bruises, aches and pains in his Hall of Fame-worthy career with the New England Patriots. And he has shown no signs of slowing down from a performance standpoint, even at age 40.
So, what’s all the fuss about this week?
Well, Brady missed practice Tuesday with a left shoulder (non-throwing shoulder) issue. He since has returned to the practice field and will play Sunday against the New York Jets — as if there was any doubt — but the ailment has raised some eyebrows, both because of Brady’s advanced age and because New England’s offensive line has been terrible so far this season.
Brady has been sacked 16 times through five games and has absorbed 33 hits. Not exactly an ideal situation for any quarterback, let alone the oldest non-kicker in the NFL. When you consider Brady’s importance to the Patriots’ Super Bowl hopes, it’s even more troubling.
Brady’s health has been a hot-button topic this week not only in New England but across the nation, with a host of pundits weighing in on how concerned the Patriots should be about No. 12’s dinged-up shoulder. The opinions varied, of course, as they generally do, but it’s clear from the segments below that many experts — several of whom are former NFL players — believe New England’s offensive line needs to perform better or else the team soon could have a bigger issue on its hands.
Is the widespread unease about Brady — it’s not quite a full-blown panic yet — justified as the 3-2 Patriots prepare for their Week 6 game against the Jets with first place in the AFC East on the line? Probably. Again, this isn’t a perfect spot for the Patriots to be in through five weeks of the regular season.
We’ve seen Brady grind away before, though, and his overall durability — he hasn’t missed a game because of an injury since tearing his ACL in 2008 — suggests he’ll do whatever he can each week to suit up and continue to play at an MVP level.
Maybe all of this injury chatter simply will add another layer to Brady’s legacy if the Patriots are able to overcome all that’s plagued them so far en route to another title.
Thumbnail photo via Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports Images