With New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrating his 40th birthday on Thursday, we’ve tracked down a collection of confidants to tell their favorite behind-the-scenes stories about the QB. The untold tales span a frustrated 4-year-old golfer, a ruthless enforcer on the intramural basketball court, an unexpected beer-chugging wonder … and everything in between.
Mike Vrabel, Patriots linebacker, 2001-08: “My indoctrination to the goal-line [offense]: I had maybe caught a couple touchdowns and was feeling pretty good about myself, and we went to practice one day and I broke free on a crossing route or something like that. So I start yelling, ‘Tom! Tom! Tom!’ and I’m waving my hands. But he doesn’t throw it to me. I come back, and we’re in the huddle when he says, ‘Mikey, if you ever wave your f–in’ hands and ask for the ball again, I’ll never throw it to you. I know who’s open. I’m the quarterback, I’ll throw it to whoever the f– I want!’ That was the last time I ever called for the ball.”
Rodney Harrison, Patriots safety, 2003-08: “This was when I first got to New England, we had become friends and we were in the weight room. I show up around 6:30 in the morning and he says to me, ‘Good afternoon!’ So the next day, I get the hint, and come in 15 minutes earlier. Same thing: He says, ‘Good afternoon!’ Then the next day it’s 5:45 in the morning, and he makes sure to say it twice: ‘Good afternoon! Good afternoon!’ So I make it at 5:30 the next day and before he could say anything to me, I looked at him and said, ‘Man, I don’t give a damn what you say, Tom, I’m not coming in earlier than 5:30!’ We both laughed at that.”
Matt Cassel, Patriots quarterback, 2005-08: “He’s never willing to give up a rep. I remember when I was in practice, Josh [McDaniels] would be like, ‘All right Cassel, get in there. You’re up.’ And as soon as he put me in, Tom would be like, ‘No, I want to get this one.’ I remember having this conversation with him. He said, ‘Look, as you play this game, you never want to see somebody else doing your job, because everybody is good in this league.'”.
Bill Belichick, Patriots head coach, 2000-present: “When we played golf at Pebble Beach two years ago, on the sixth hole, it’s a big cliff. He’s literally standing out there on the ledge, trying to hit the ball. The caddie is holding him so he won’t like tumble 300 feet to his death into the Pacific Ocean. It’s a golf ball. But I think that’s kind of the competitiveness of Tom. I’m sure there’s a picture of it. I’m thinking to myself, ‘What the hell are you doing?'”.
Kevin Faulk, Patriots running back, 2000-11: “Tom was always businesslike, but he also liked to have fun. So one day, we all walk into the locker room and three tires from Matt Cassel’s car are all at his locker. Nobody knows where the fourth tire is, but Cassel’s car, in the parking lot, is on blocks. They were playing pranks on each other, it was Tom who did it, and Cassel sort of looked around and said, ‘What can I do, man?’ Well, a couple of offensive linemen decided that they wanted to help. They wanted to leave Mr. Brady a little treat for when he was going home from practice. So Brady gets to his car and what does he find: It is filled with a bunch of packing peanuts.”
Sebastian Vollmer, Patriots offensive tackle, 2009-16: “I’m always impressed, because when you walk into that locker room, everyone knows who Tom Brady is. But he introduces himself to every rookie: ‘Hey, my name is Tom Brady. I play quarterback.’ It’s not like, ‘I’m the guy.’ He’s not arrogant. Just humble from the perspective of, ‘I don’t expect you to know me, I am going to prove to you I can play.'”.
Rodney Harrison, Patriots safety, 2003-08: “When we were down in the Super Bowl at Houston [in 2004], it was practice and it was a competitive one. The defense had its way with Tom that day – knocking down balls, forcing incomplete passes – and we were all pumped up. Then I stepped in front and picked Tom off, running down the field, high-stepping, talking trash. When I come back, he started chasing me, throwing footballs at me, yelling obscenities at me. It was unbelievable. Here we are at the Super Bowl, about to play the biggest game of our lives, and this dude is mad – and then wouldn’t talk to me for a day and a half – because I picked him off.”
The orginal article.