FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady rarely misses practices for the New England Patriots, and even his occasional absences never raise too many alarms.
Take last Wednesday, for instance. Brady sat out practice with an Achilles injury suffered in the Patriots’ win over the Oakland Raiders, but no one believed for a second he would miss the following game. And sure enough, the 40-year-old quarterback was back on the practice field Thursday, removed from the injury report Friday and ready to go Sunday, leading New England to a 35-17 win over the Miami Dolphins.
It’s likely that pattern will repeat itself this week.
After absorbing eight QB hits against the Dolphins, Brady missed another practice Wednesday, again with Achilles injury. Yet no one in the media nor in the locker room seems to have any doubt he will suit up Sunday when the Patriots visit the Buffalo Bills.
“He always does what he needs to do to be out there,” safety Devin McCourty said after practice. “He takes great care of his body. Mentally, he’s always prepared. You saw that last year when he missed the first four games (due to his Deflategate suspension) and came back like he had been there all season.
“So that’s one guy, for all of us on the team, you shouldn’t spend any extra minutes worrying about. It’s Brady. He’ll take care of himself and what he needs to do.”
Brady’s teammates have every reason to be confident. Only two circumstances ever have caused him to miss regular-season time for the Patriots: the torn ACL that cost him the final 15 games of the 2008 season and the suspension that sidelined him for the first four weeks in 2016. Outside of those periods, he has started every single game since taking over for Drew Bledsoe in Week 2 of the 2001 campaign.
“He’s the greatest quarterback to ever play,” running back Rex Burkhead said. “And just the mindset he has, we know he’s going to be prepared and ready to go whenever he’s out there.”
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images