There have been some people in the NFL down through the years I didn’t want to see Tom Brady play nice with. Opposing players and coaches I would rather have seen him ignore. Or wordlessly stare down while using two fingers to point at his eyes, and then at them, and then back his eyes, and then them again. To let them know he’s onto their bullshit and they were about to suffer his wrath. Actually there have been a few I wanted him to just get close enough to kill them where they stood with the Five Finger Exploding Heart Punch. But that’s just me.
Hostility is not Tom Brady’s way. That’s one of the very few negatives in an otherwise blessed existence as a Masshole sharing this planet with Tom Brady. He’ll go to his eco-friendly bed at night reading his dog-eared copy of “The Four Agreements” in his ceramic-lined recovery sleepwear next to his devoted, perfectly proportioned wife and wake up with a positive worldview in the morning. Hatred is something we want him to feel, but it’s as alien to him as it would be to Mr. Spock.
And so, every so often, we get to see what he’s like. In person. At ground level. Interacting with this opposition. In this case, it’s going way, way out of his way to show respect to a player he’d never faced. And in all likelihood, never even met before.
Think about this. Lamar Jackson is 22. Meaning he was born in 1997. When Brady was languishing on the U. of Michigan depth chart, debating whether to transfer to a school California, while still getting some interest from the Montreal Expos. Now the team that drafted him to be their catcher of the future is in DC, visiting the White House as the guest of a reality show host. And Brady and that 1997 baby are on an NFL field, exchanging mutual admiration.
I don’t have any problem whatsoever with Lamar Jackson. And I’m perfectly OK with having him on the Good List. I just can’t for the life of me figure out how, at this point, anyone can listen to the way Brady greets Jackson before the game, after a very frustrating loss and tells him how great he thinks the young guy is doing, and still have a problem with him. If you think for one hot second that this kind of class is common among veteran quarterbacks, you’re kidding yourself. If you think that, say, Brett Favre was doing this when he was north of 40, you’re delusional.
Although it’s been said, many times, many ways, Tom Brady is a special sort of human being. That’s my quarterback.