Maybe we should stop reading into Tom Brady’s comments so much. Perhaps the New England Patriots quarterback actually doesn’t hate rookies.
Prior to the New England Patriots’ Week 9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Brady explained why it’s easier to work with a veteran receiver like Mohamed Sanu than a rookie. It was pretty easy to fall into the trap of reading into that statement closely because the Patriots had 2019 first-round pick N’Keal Harry coming off of injured reserve. The Patriots also have undrafted rookies Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski on their 53-man roster.
Brady discussed those comments Wednesday when he called in to WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria” show. Christian Fauria, Brady’s former teammate, was appearing on WEEI for 25 straight hours to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. Fauria wanted to raise $25,000, and he’s far surpassed that goal.
“I think with our team, what I think we’ve done over the years is we’ve not projected expectations for people that put them in an unfair position that people are expecting things that, you know, are not in my control,” Brady said. “If you want to ask someone like N’Keal how he feels he’s doing, you should ask him. To ask me, and then put unfair expectations on a younger player, I don’t think that is helpful at all. It is really up to each individual player. It is not just N’Keal because I like N’Keal a lot. Everybody’s role is earned and I think that is the mark of the Patriots and that is part of the culture — you have to come out here and you have to earn a spot and earn a role. You do that through practice, earning the trust of your teammates and your coaches that you can be talented when the moments are their biggest.”
Brady did heap praise on Harry while speaking to OMF. Harry began the 2019 season on injured reserve after suffering injuries in training camp and his preseason debut. Harry was eligible to play against the Ravens, but the Patriots made the rookie wideout inactive in Week 9.
“Unfortunately for N’Keal, he got hurt early in training camp,” Brady said. “He didn’t have the development when other guys were practicing for over two months. He’s working hard. He’s extremely hard-working. He wants to do it. He’s got a great edge about him. I really love that. I really love his tenacity and he’s learning every day, and he’s working hard to get better. I think that is all you can ask of a younger player.”
Head coach Bill Belichick wouldn’t say if the Patriots intend to make Harry active Sunday when New England takes on the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11.
Thumbnail photo via Mitch Stringer/USA TODAY Sports Images