FOXBORO, Mass. — It’s springtime and Tom Brady talked. This is news in itself, since the New England Patriots quarterback didn’t hold a news conference during organized team activities or minicamp last year.
If you need a refresher on Brady controversy, last spring is when Brady would have fielded questions about his wife, Gisele Bundchen, saying he suffered concussions. He chose to push off his media availability until training camp began. And then until after his 40th birthday. He talked Aug. 4.
But Brady built the controversy himself this offseason when he elected to skip voluntary organized team activities. Brady showed up for mandatory minicamp Monday, but it was out of character for the QB to hold himself out of any practice, especially when he has new teammates with which to build a rapport.
So, why wasn’t Brady with his teammates for the voluntary portions of the offseason workout program?
“Just some personal reasons for me,” Brady said Thursday. “But I’m here now and focused on what I need to do, as I always say I am. Like I said, I’m looking forward to this year.”
Do those “personal” reasons include his relationship with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, which reportedly is on rocky ground.
“Not at all,” Brady said. “No. No.”
That’s important and addresses perhaps the biggest question of the Patriots offseason.
So, how is their relationship?
“It’s great and we’ve always had a great relationship,” Brady said. “I’ve been here for a long time and I love this team, I love this organization and I love playing quarterback for him. I loved it last year. I’m having a lot of fun now so that’s obviously what’s most important to me.”
Are those “personal” reasons contract-related? Brady has two years left on his deal. He usually signs an extension when there’s only two years left. He hasn’t done that yet this offseason.
“Yeah, I’ve never talked about my contract,” Brady said. “I’ve never brought up money, I think for a lot of reasons that I’ve said over the years. Those things are very personal.”
There’s that word again.
Brady said earlier in the offseason he wanted to make this offseason about his family. Those are likely the “personal” reasons for skipping OTAs. But being light on details sets everything Brady says up to be debated ad nauseam for the rest of the offseason, which is about to hit its slowest period over the next six weeks.
Brady shut down another storyline from the offseason. He’s not retiring. He said it never came into his mind over the last few months.
As for Brady’s future, he’s not focused on it. He wouldn’t address whether he’ll be present for four remaining OTAs held June 11, 12, 14 and 15.
“We’re not even through today yet,” Brady said. “We’ve had a good three days and been working on the things we need to work on. That’s what I always focus on.”
Brady likely will be without his favorite wide receiver, Julian Edelman, who reportedly faces a four-game suspension to start the season after violating the NFL’s performance enhancing drug policy.
Brady could get in some extra work with wideouts he doesn’t know as well, like Jordan Matthews, Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson, Riley McCarron and Braxton Berrios, next week. Or maybe “personal reasons” will push that work off until the future.