Tom Brady usually isn’t the most fascinating soundbite.
He’s still the greatest quarterback in NFL history, though, and a large segment of the population therefore hangs on his every word — now more than ever, with Brady set to become a free agent for the first time in his career.
Perhaps no media member has more intimate access to Brady than Westwood One reporter Jim Gray, who recently spoke with the New York Post’s Justin Terranova about the weekly one-on-one interviews he’s been conducting with the New England Patriots QB for almost a decade.
“Meticulous, prepared, very responsive, on time, humble, he’s unbelievable really,” Gray told Terranova of what he’s learned about Brady in nine years of interviews. “He never says, ‘Don’t ask me anything.’ If he doesn’t want to answer the question then that’s how he will respond to it, but there are no preconditions. He wrote me a handwritten note 10 years ago now before we started this. It said, ‘I look forward to doing the show. You’ll get the same effort out of me on Monday nights that I give my teammates on Sunday afternoons.’ And that has been the case, he’s never missed a show.”
Gray’s weekly chat with Brady is even more intriguing nowadays given the uncertainty surrounding the six-time Super Bowl champion. Brady has spent his entire 20-year career with New England, but it sounds like he’s prepared to test the open market ahead of his age-43 season, thus raising questions over whether he’s played his final snap in a Patriots uniform.
“He doesn’t know. When he doesn’t know I am not sure how any of us can know,” Gray told Terranova when asked how he’s approached questions about Brady’s free agency. “How many times can you ask the same question? As it evolves he will let us know. It’s not like he’s hiding something. I’ve asked him and he’s committed several times on the air to us that he’s playing next season. There’s not much he can be involved with outside the Patriots till March 18.”
Brady has been adhering to the “Patriot Way” since the turn of the century. His typically tight-lipped handling of the media might not be entertaining, especially for someone like Gray, who’s tasked with trying to extract something notable from the NFL superstar on a weekly basis, but it sure has proven effective.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images