If Drew Bledsoe has secretly held a grudge against Tom Brady for all these years, it wasn’t strong enough for him to turn down helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback out with his new documentary.
But the pilot episode of “Tom Brady: Man in the Arena,” released on ESPN+ on Tuesday made both former New England Patriots reflect on their quarterback controversy.
Focusing in on the Patriots’ 2001 season, the episode featured interviews with Brady, Bledsoe and Willie McGinest, spending quite a bit of time on when Bledsoe returned healthy, and unexpectedly, lost his job as the starter permanently.
“I never looked at it like it was me against Drew,” Brady said. “He and I personally, we’ve never had an issue. I’m sure it was much harder on him than it was on me because I was the one playing.”
Bledsoe admitted coach Bill Belichick’s decision ate him up inside at times, and he wanted nothing more to compete for his role. But his relationship with Brady made it hard not to be a team player.
“With Tom it was bittersweet; love the guy,” Bledsoe said. “But at the same time, that’s my job that he’s got. And that’s my team that he’s leading. And I don’t get to go out there and do that. … But I do think that I was able to, in spite of that, actually get my job done and still be supportive. If Tommy was an (expletive), it would have been really, really hard to do that. But he’s not.”
Bledsoe ultimately can find solace in the fact that the guy he lost his job to ultimately helped him win a Super Bowl, so there are fewer “what ifs” to ponder.
It ended up just being fate which Bledsoe gracefully accepted.
“When Drew got hurt, no one would’ve wanted that, no one hoped for that,” Brady also notes in the episode. “And I think what I respect so much about him is he never let any of those emotions negatively impact me in any way. And I love Drew, and I respected Drew for everything that he had done.”