Tom Brady is stepping out of his comfort zone Wednesday morning.
The new Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback is a guest on “The Howard Stern Show,” which should be an interesting look at the typically reserved legendary quarterback.
We’ll be recording some of the highlights here as the interview happens.
10:45 a.m. — Lastly, Brady refused to say he’s better than Joe Montana or the best ever:
“I can’t say that. I would never say that. That’s not how I Think about myself. The only thing I care about is am I the best I can be? I’m the best I can be.”
10:40 a.m. — Asked point-blank what he can say about how we should handle the coronavirus, Brady goes deep on his outlook:
“I don’t know about on a macro level. I don’t have, no one can predict the future, but my strong beliefs are ‘How do I approach this?’ I try to use the same common sense that I’ve had playing football all these years. You can’t control all the external things that are happening. The only thing you can control is what you’re doing for yourself. What are you putting into your body to keep your immune system really strong? I think that’s super important. I wish that was part of our conversation. … Why are we so dependent on waiting to get sick before we start thinking about how we can get better? I heard one of the doctors on TV say we should act like we’re sick, and I thought that was a very compelling thing. In my mind, I live like I’m sick. I always try to get the right rest, I always try to eat the right foods, I always try to have a more positive outlook, so I think that was a great point. What do we learn from this situation? We can’t control what’s gonna happen externally, but what we can control is things that relate to us — what we put into our bodies, the thoughts that we think. Are we fearful or are we optimistic? Are we positive or are we negative? I think if you sit inside and eat a bunch of shitty food, watch these crazy, nasty, fearful media reports, I don’t think that’s doing anything other than make us feel worse. … Try to get the right exercise, try to eat the right foods, try to call loved ones, be a little more joyful and that’s a great way to approach it.
“… It’s unfortunate with people loving loved ones and so forth. No one wants to see anyone go through those, so hopefully, we can all internally find a little more personal space to figure out what works going forward.”
10:30 a.m. — Brady admits he “absolutely” would let his kids play football.
“I would never want for them to be Tom Brady’s son playing football. I don’t like that at all. But from a team, camaraderie, discipline, I think there’s something about contact sports that teaches you a lot about discipline, respect, mutual respect for your opponent that you don’t get in non-contact sports. Think about it: If your body is taking a physical toll and punishment, you gotta respect your body because that’s your insulation. That’s your asset. You have to have even more respect for your body. … The contact sports are the ones where I think you learn the most discipline. You can’t perform unless you take great care of your body. If you don’t, you’re gonna have a very short career.”
10:25 a.m. — Brady talked about some of the teams who were interested in him as a free agent.
“I really believe I could help any organization, and that’s why I signed up to continue to play. If I didn’t think I could do that, I wouldn’t have continued to play. … I don’t know how much interest, they could probably speak to that more than me, I just know the conversations I have with my agent at the time. There were probably a lot of different teams that were interested, I’d say. Some, I want to respect their privacy, too, because they still have organizations they’re running, and I don’t want to f— with their program at all.”
10:20 a.m. — Obviously, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians played a big role in getting Brady to Tampa Bay.
“I like him a lot. I think part of the reason I chose here is a lot of reasons. I learned so much about having the opportunity to evaluate where the priorities were for me. Coaching obviously was important, hugely important. … He has a different way about him, but it’s authentic to him. I think the best thing for a coach to be is authentic to who you are. He definitely someone who tells you straight, which I appreciate, too.”
Brady also talked about the recruiting process as a free agent:
“You have this college recruiting process where all the schools come and want to show you their best. That was a fun experience for me to experience that, and I enjoyed that aspect of seeing what other teams could offer and what other teams’ processes were and I learned a lot from it.
” … I wrote down about 20 different things that were important to me and kind of prioritize what was important. I kind of scaled it, and looked at all the opportunities that were out there.”
10:15 a.m. — It’s easy to see why Brady still loves playing football, and a lot of it has to do with being around teammates in the locker room.
“In a lot of ways, you can still act like you’re in high school. There’s a part of that where there’s no responsibility and life is so easy. You don’t have to grow up and take on the responsibilities of life when you’re [in a locker room. It’s just so. There’s a phrase, “playing grab-ass,” you know, and you just do stupid shit. It keeps you young because you just laugh and laugh at each other. … It’s a very light part of life.
” … In every aspect of life now, everything is so hyper-sensitive. IN a locker room, it’s not. So you’re protected within the walls of a locker room, and everyone can be themselves. It’s all guys. Guy jokes, you’re not offending when you’re making jokes about whatever, you’re not offending (anyone).”
10:02 a.m. — Brady even opened up about his relationship with President Donald Trump. According to Brady, Trump asked him to speak at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
“Yeah, he wanted me to speak at the convention, too, and I wasn’t going to do anything political. I met him in 2001. It was probably very similar to our relationship that you had with him. In 2002, after I won my first Super Bowl, he asked me to go judge a Miss USA competition, which I thought was the coolest thing in the world because I was 24 years old and had a chance to do something like that. … He just in a way he would call me after games. ‘I watched your games, Tom. Let’s play golf together.’ In 2003, 2004, that’s kind of the way it was. He became someone who would come up to our games and stand on the sideline and would cheer for the Patriots. He always had a way of connecting with people and still does.
“Then the whole political aspect came, and I think I got brought into a lot of those things because it was so polarizing around the election time. It was uncomfortable for me because you can’t undo things, not that I would undo a friendship, but political support is a lot different than the support of a friend.”
Here’s some more from Brady and his view on politics in general:
“I wasn’t going to support, I didn’t want to get into all the political, because there’s zero-win in regards to any of that. Because it’s politics. The whole political realm right now is, I dunno, I’m a person from my standpoint is to embrace leadership. I got brought together in a locker room where I was always trying to get along with everybody. I feel like in an outward sense when you start talking about politics it’s about how do you not bring people together, which is the opposite of what politics always should have been in our country. I can only relate to it as from my profession, leadership and responsibility is about embracing the whole and trying to bring people together to lead them to a common goal.”
9:55 a.m. — Again, it might not be as interesting as the football stuff to some, but Brady also opened up about an early part in his relationship with Gisele, as he learned his ex-girlfriend, actor Bridget Moynahan, was pregnant with Brady’s first son.
“It was an interesting time because we found out after that that my ex-girlfriend was pregnant with my oldest son. We were forced into this very important thing in our lives at a new part of our relationship. In a lot of ways, I found out a lot about Gisele through this experience, and she found out a lot about me dealing with a situation that was, I’d say, not a very easy one.
” … That had its challenges. I didn’t think I was gonna have kids for another 10 years. Next thing you know, I found out Bridget was pregnant with our son. That was a very unique time, and it challenged me in a lot of ways to grow up in a different way. It was very hard for my wife to think she fell in love with this guy, and now this guy’s ex-girlfriend’s pregnant. And it was very challenging for my son’s mom because she didn’t envision that either. But I think we all made the best of the situation, and fortunately, he’s the most amazing son at 12 years old. The kid, my son Jack, my heart explodes when I think of him. He’s the greatest kid you could ever ask for.”
9:48 a.m. — Brady talked about how his relationship with Gisele began, if you’re into that sort of thing.
“I got introduced to her by a mutual friend and I would say it was a “blind date,” but it wasn’t because I knew what she looked like. It was in December of 2006 where we met.
“I had gotten out of a relationship and she had been out of a long-term relationship. When we met, I wasn’t quite sure if I was ready for a relationship. I wasn’t sure I was, but we met and we hit it off.”
A mutual friend set them up:
” … He told me, you should meet this girl. She’s an amazing girl and in a lot of ways, she’s a lot like you. He told her ‘You gotta meet this guy.’ I had known him for three years, and (he told her) ‘He’s a lot like you.'”
9:42 a.m. — More from Brady on his marriage with Gisele, and how she helped refocus him on their evolving relationship:
“She actually wrote me a letter. It was a very thought-out letter that she wrote to me, and I still have it. I keep it in a drawer, and I read it, and it’s a very heartfelt letter for her to say this where I’m at in our marriage. It’s a good reminder to me that things are gonna change and evolve over time. What worked for us 10 years ago won’t work for us forever because we’re growing in different ways.”
9:37 a.m. — Brady also opened up about his relationship with his wife Gisele Bundchen, saying he needed a wake-up call about being better at home. That seemingly led to Brady deciding to do less with the Patriots during the offseason.
“A couple of years ago, she didn’t feel like I was doing my part for the family. She felt like I would play football all season, and she’d take care of the house. Then, when the season ended, I’d be like ‘Great, let me get into all my other business activities, let me get into my football training,’ and she’s going ‘When are you going to do for things for the house? When are you going to take the kids to school?’ That was a big part of our marriage. I had to like check myself because she was like ‘I have goals and dreams, too.’
“… Two years ago, as it related to football for me, I had to make a big transition in my life to say I can’t do all the things that I wanted to do for football like I used to. I had to take care of my family because my family situation wasn’t great. She wasn’t satisfied with our marriage. I had to make a change in that.”
9:25 a.m. — Brady, talking about the physical toll of playing football, admits he’s had head injuries over his career.
“I’ve definitely had concussions, yeah.”
However, Brady talked about how he’s not going to let other people tell him when to walk away from football.
“I could sit here and (say) stop playing football so I could worry about what’s going to happen or worry about this or that instead of saying why don’t I live my life the way that I want to and enjoy it? For me, it’s doing what I love to do. You don’t tell a musician to stop singing at age 42. You don’t tell a great painter, stop painting at 42. If you want to stop, stop, go ahead. But for me, because I feel like I can still play doesn’t mean I should just stop playing because that’s what everyone tells me I should do.”
9:15 a.m. — Brady opened up about his conversation with Robert Kraft when he told the Patriots owner he was leaving.
“I just went over and I said, look, I just want to say how much I love you and appreciate what we’ve done together. I know we’re not going to continue together, but thank you and thank you for providing what you have for my family and for my career. I was able to call Coach Belichick at the same time, and it was great.”
Brady also said he cried during his conversation with Kraft.
9:11 a.m. — Brady admits he knew the end was near in Foxboro even before the 2019 season began.
“I don’t think there was a final, final decision until it happened, but I would say I probably knew before the start of last season that it was my last year. I knew our time was coming to an end.”
9:10 a.m. — More Brady on his relationship with Belichick:
“I think he has a lot of loyalty. He and I have had a lot of conversations that nobody has ever been privy to, and nor should they be. So many wrong assumptions were made about our relationship and how he felt about me. I know genuinely how feels about me. I’m not going to respond to every rumor or assumption made other than what his responsibility as coach is to get the best player for the team not only for the short term but the long term as well. … I got into unchartered territory as an athlete because I started to break the mold of what so many other athletes experienced. I was an older athlete, and he started to plan for the future, which is what his responsibility is, and I don’t fault him for that. That’s what he should be doing.”
9:05 a.m. — Asked whether it might be important for Brady to finish his career with the Patriots and only play for one team, the QB had a blunt response:
“I would say I never cared about legacy. I could give a s— about (that). I never said in high school, ‘Man, I can’t wait for what my football legacy looks like.’ That’s just not me. That’s not my personality. So why would I choose a different place? It’s just time. I don’t know what to say other than that. I had accomplished everything I could in two decades with an incredible organization and an incredible group of people. That will never change. No one can ever take that away from me. No one can take those Super Bowl championships or experiences away from us.”
9:02 a.m. — Stern asked Brady about whether he and Belichick would have been able to have success without the other or who gets the most credit, etc. Brady’s answer was a good one:
“I think it’s a pretty s—– argument that people would say that. I can’t do his job, and he can’t do mine. So, the fact that you could say ‘Would I be successful without him?’ The same level of success, I don’t believe I would have been. But I feel the same and vice versa as well. To have him allow me to be the best I can be, I’m grateful for that, and I very much believe he feels the same about me because we’ve expressed that to each other.”
8:57 a.m. — Brady was asked about how he handles when his teammates aren’t playing to same level he is.
“You’ve gotta believe, people don’t want to f— up I mean, people, it’s really important to them, especially on the pro level. If a guy isn’t giving great effort or he’s being an asshole, I can talk to him about that. I’d never confront him, I do it a different way. My leadership is more about connecting with someone instead of calling him out in front of my teammates.”
Asked whether he ever went to Bill Belichick and essentially demand the coach get rid of a player, Brady said that wasn’t the case, but he did confirm something we could all see from afar.
“I would say (to Belichick) I don’t have any trust that this guy can help us win the game. I’ve definitely expressed my opinion to say ‘If you put him out there, I’m not going to throw him the ball.’ The whole team is trusting me to do what’s right by the team, so you can’t put someone out there who I don’t believe in. Because if I don’t believe in him, it’s worthless for the team. I think fortunately for me, Coach Belichick always saw it the same way as me, which is why I think we had such a great connection. He saw football very much the same way that I saw it. All the coaches that I worked with on a daily basis, they want the same thing.”
8:52 a.m. — This is fascinating insight from Brady regarding how he tries to relate to teammates who come from different walks of life.
“I know guys who came from wealthy backgrounds, I know games who came from nothing. I know guys who came from good high schools, from s—– high schools. … You develop relationships with all these different people and you’ve gotta find ways to connect on different levels with different guys. I’ll be 43 this year, and a lot of my teammates will be 22. I’ve gotta connect with the 22-year-olds and find things we can share and have fun with. I think that’s why I’ve always enjoyed team sports because it’s not just about me.”
8:49 a.m. — Brady also had his fun in high school away from the classroom and football field, although he had his reasons for not over-indulging.
“My dad was always available to me, so in a way when I did those things, I really felt guilty. If I woke up the next morning with a hangover, I just felt guilty about it. I never was really indulging. I definitely had my fun in high school, with partying and drinking and smoking weed on occasion, but as it got later in my high school life, those became less and less and less.”
8:45 a.m. — Candid line from Brady about how much effort he put into his schoolwork: “If my kids gave the effort I did, I’d be pretty pissed at my kids.”
8:40 a.m. — Real good stuff from Brady on how he approaches adversity, using the Patriots’ historic comeback against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI as an example:
“We were down 28-3 against Atlanta in Super Bowl 51. You can look at that situation and basically quit and say, you know, ‘F— it. We have no shot of winning,’ or you can say ‘This is going to be an amazing comeback. When we come back from this, this is going to be the defining moment in life,’ or a defining moment in a professional career.
“I think when you shift your mind and think that way, it becomes very empowering as opposed to very discouraging. So anytime we’re down in a game, I think, ‘Man, if we come back and win this game, we’re the hero,’ rather than ‘Oh, s—, we’re screwed. We have no shot.'”
8:32 a.m. — Talking about his time Michigan, Brady says “When you’re not ‘their guy,’ there’s a different dynamic,” which, if we’re reading way in between the lines, might explain some of his thought processes when it came to leaving the Patriots.
8:28 a.m. — Some interesting insight from Brady on how his career began with the Patriots, and how he and Bill Belichick were beginning at the same time in New England.
“Fortunately for me, where I got drafted, it was such a confluence of factors. I was ready to prove myself,” Brady said. “I was really ready and eager to prove myself because of my college experience, I learned a lot about competition and teamwork and the things to me that really mattered.
“I was ready to go all-in at the professional level, and that was when Coach Belichick, that was his first year too, and we both came in with a lot to prove. I came in with an attitude I could bring a lot to the team, and I was all about the team.”
8:24 a.m. — Another freeze for Brady, the fourth of the interview already, and they’re switching from Zoom to an actual telephone.
8:20 a.m. — Brady, talking about his early football days, recounts how he once was the backup QB on a team that, well, wasn’t very good.
“We were 0-7, and I couldn’t get on the field. It tells you how s—– I was,” he said. ” … The only reason I ended up playing is the guy ahead of me ended up quitting.”
8:17 a.m. — We’re roughly 10 minutes from the interview, and Brady’s feed has already frozen twice. So it’s been one of those things so far. Brady confirmed he’s staying at Derek Jeter’s house and if there’s anything wrong with the house, he “just bitches about it,” and Jeter fixes it.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images