Goodness gracious, Patriots PR Department. Can't a guy just relax on the last weekend before the season begins without having this sentimental arrow hit him right in his soul's bullseye?
I mean, here I am, gearing up for the Tom Brady tribute coming up September 10th before the Eagles game at Gillette. Enjoying the calm before that storm hits. Bracing myself for it. Laying sandbags around my heart to stem the tide of the emotional tsunami that's to come. And this has to come out now?
CBS Sports has the entire transcript. But just hitting a few of the highlights:
Q: Tom, you're coming into a system where they have a quarterback everybody knows. What's you're feeling about backing up Drew Bledsoe?
Brady: Well it's certainly, uhh ... all's I was looking for was a place to get my foot in the door and try to be great for the team that picked me. And, you know, Drew Bledsoe is certainly one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and it's gonna be great to learn under him and compete for a job with the Patriots.
Q: Are you aware that there's another quarterback here too that they drafted last year, Michael Bishop from Kansas State?
Brady: Yes, I am. I know Mike, seen him play last year and I know he's a heck of a player. You know, it's just up to me. I think that the team picked me to come in there and go out there and be a team player and fight every day, and that's really what I plan to do. I've always really concerned myself with the things I can do and I don't put a whole lot of thinking into the other guys because I know that I'm not really at my best when I'm not controlling and playing as well as I possibly can."
Q: Tom, you were projected to go a little bit higher than this. Are you disappointed?
Brady: I don't think disappointed is the word. I think, you know, I mean, the team that has drafted me, I'm just very comfortable with. And whether it be in the second round or the sixth round, I think everyone starts on the same, the same level. And it's just a great opportunity to head back to New England and play for the Patriots. It's certainly been a dream come true.
Q: Hey, you kind of had like a platoon system at quarterback at Michigan. Could you talk about how you were used there and why they did that?
Brady: Sure. At Michigan, I mean, as a lot of people know, we have a lot of great players there. I mean you guys got a great pick from from Michigan, Chris Floyd, who plays for you now. We're always competing against the best players and the kid I was competing with is going to be a heck of a talent. And the coach just felt it was best for him to get some experience and to get in there and play some games and do whatever was best for the team. And that's the way I took the approach and everything really certainly worked out for me.
There's more in this treasure trove, but there's a taste. Who knows where the Patriots dug this up, but it wouldn't surprise me to know it was found in some vault deep under the parking lot where Foxboro Stadium used to be, and it took someone overcoming a series of traps, riddles, poison darts shooting out of the wall and outrunning a giant boulder to retrieve it. And I'm grateful for it. This thing should never have been hidden for so long.
I mean, this is a rare historic artifact. Like something pulled out of a time capsule 24 years after it was buried, in order to show us what the world was like back then.
- How Drew Bledsoe - who ended up becoming the highest paid player in NFL history the following year - seemed permanently entrenched as the starter then.
- How the public was still so enamored of Michael Bishop, who as I've mentioned before, was the greatest August player I've ever seen. But who didn't survive Patriots camp cuts in 2001, and was released by his CFL team later that season.
- And his perfect answer to the fact Lloyd Carr had his head shoved so far up his own ass that the future GOAT had to fight for playing time with Drew feckin' Henson.* Likely costing Brady millions. But unintentionally landing him in the perfect place to become legend.
It's hard to put this in historical perspective. It's like finding video of a teenage Alexander taming the untameable Bucephalus and making his father weep with pride. Or an interview with Napoleon when he was promoted to general at 24 and planning the attack against the First Coalition. This is like hearing a Lincoln speech when he was still running for the Illinois House of Representatives. Or a baby Bill Belichick breaking down game film for his dad at the Naval Academy. It's evidence of the greatness that was there all along, but had yet to truly show itself.
I could argue this couldn't have come at a worse time, given the emotional stakes involved. But then again, there's going to be lot of sentimentality in the week ahead, and we might as well start girding our loins for it. So thanks, I guess.
(*My favorite theory about Henson getting so many starts despite the fact Brady was clearly better and won more is that George Steinbrenner was a huge Ohio State booster. And once the Yankees drafted him, Steinbrenner offered him the chance to skip the Minor Leagues altogether, and go straight to the parent club, just to get him out of Michigan. So Carr kept trotting him out there over Brady just to entice him to stay. Back in the late '90s-early 2000s, everything eventually came back to the Yankees.)