Tom Brady has done plenty of traveling this offseason – to
Brazil for Carnival, to Mexico where he navigated a water slide and
to the Kentucky Derby where he sported a Panama hat over his long
All captured, of course, on camera.
Now the globe-trotting quarterback of the New England Patriots
is back in town with teammates at informal workouts from which
reporters and photographers were barred.
”Oh,” a smiling wide receiver Wes Welker told them as he left,
”you found us.”
Only 20 miles north of his home stadium in Foxborough, Brady
helped lead the session at Boston College on Thursday.
More than 40 players, including several draft choices, attended.
There was no hitting – since injuries would not be covered by the
club – uniforms or football pads. Most players wore T-shirts and
shorts. Still, they were together while the NFL lockout kept them
from practicing at Gillette Stadium.
”We’re running around and we’re just doing some basic stuff,”
linebacker Rob Ninkovich said after the two-hour session, ”but it
feels good because we’re together and everyone’s out there having
fun. So we’re just waiting for all this stuff to be over with and
then we’ll be back, hopefully soon.”
The workouts began Wednesday and were expected to continue
While many players have been working out regularly in the area,
Brady has been doing it elsewhere.
He returned for the workouts and activities of Best Buddies
International, which supports programs for people with intellectual
and developmental disabilities. He’ll participate in a touch
football game on Friday at Harvard and a charity bike ride on
Saturday which coach Bill Belichick is expected to attend.
On Thursday, though, there were no coaches. The lockout forbids
them from running team practices. So Brady took charge of the
offense and linebacker Jerod Mayo ran the defense.
”The best thing about it is just that we get to hear some plays
again,” running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis said. ”Everybody got
familiar with the sounds and the terms.”
There were positional drills, pass routes run at slow speed and
sprints from sideline to sideline on a sunny, breezy morning.
Brady walked without a noticeable limp 4 1/2 months after
undergoing surgery for a stress fracture on his right foot.
At one point, he dropped back, pumped his arm toward the middle
then threw a completion on the right side to another quarterback,
Hardly typical of a disciplined Belichick practice.
”It’s just good to be around all these guys,” Hoyer said.
”That’s the main thing.”
During the closed workout, several reporters stood behind a
locked gate and peered through binoculars at the players.
While Hoyer was conducting a 23-second interview as he left,
Brady passed by, smiled and said, ”Come on, Hoy, no media
Among those attending were wide receiver Deion Branch, tight end
Rob Gronkowski, center Dan Koppen and defensive backs Devin
McCourty and Brandon Meriweather. The draft picks included
first-rounder Nate Solder, a tackle from Colorado, and
third-rounder Ryan Mallett, a quarterback from Arkansas.
Several players sidelined for most of last season also
participated – running back Kevin Faulk, defensive end Ty Warren
and defensive tackle Mike Wright.
Faulk has spent 12 seasons with the Patriots, although he played
only two games last year because of a torn ligament in his right
knee, and is unsigned. Danny Woodhead took over his role as the
third-down back and also was at the workout.
”I’m fine, just trying to get back into form, that’s all,”
Faulk said. ”Right now, you can’t say anybody’s ready. We’re just
trying to get back into football.”
Ninkovich said he has been working out regularly with Mayo and
about 10 other players who remained in the area after the season
ended with a 28-21 loss to the New York Jets in the first round of
The large turnout this week showed ”team camaraderie,”
”Last year we didn’t end it the way we wanted to, so this year
we’ve got to start all over again,” he said. ”I’m just getting
ready to play ball and whenever they tell me to play, I’ll be
ready. That’s all you can do.”