FOXBORO, Mass. — The story of the day Wednesday at Gillette Stadium was Antonio Brown and the serious allegations surrounding the New England Patriots wide receiver.
Brown was accused of three counts of sexual assault and rape in a civil lawsuit Tuesday. Brown denied the claims and practiced with the Patriots on Wednesday. After Tom Brady evaded questions about the allegations against Brown, a reporter asked the Patriots quarterback if he shares a kinship with his new receiver since they were both sixth-round picks.
Brady pivoted to not directly address Brown in his answer. But he did give some interesting thoughts on why late-round picks succeed in the NFL and especially with the Patriots.
“Yeah, I think you look at a guy like Julian (Edelman), too,” Brady said. “We’ve had a lot of undrafted players, late-round picks. I think what they can’t evaluate at the combine are probably things that might help you prolong your career. You know, you learn different skillsets when you’re not the top pick. So, a lot of times, I think if you can stick with it and you can keep finding a way, the things that make you successful as a player, to me, are continuing to evolve your game, continue to work at your skills, the things you need to do, continuous improvement, discipline, hard work. Sometimes, I think the guys who are later picks develop those traits and then you realize, ‘Man, those really paid off for me, let me keep doing them.’
“So, I think sometimes it’s a disadvantage when you’re a high pick. Everyone tells you how great you are all the time. You get more opportunity than everyone else. So, I think the things that are sustainable are hard work, discipline, commitment, and I’d say we’ve had a lot of players over the years that have fit that mold.”
Running back Brandon Bolden, special-teamers Matthew Slater and Nate Ebner, centers David Andrews and Ted Karras, defensive linemen Michael Bennett, Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler, linebacker Elandon Roberts and cornerbacks JC Jackson, Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones are other examples of late-round or undrafted players who currently are having success in New England. Brady and Edelman are just the most famous ones.