CHANDLER, Ariz. — Despite Tom Brady‘s elite stature, he doesn’t act like it around the team. Speaking after reportedly restructuring his contract in late December to give the Patriots organization more spending money, he said the only thing he cares about his earning the respect of his teammates.
“I think the motivation is to never let my teammates down,” Brady said. “I want to go out there and be the best I can be for them. Those guys work really hard, and I never want to be the reason why we lose the game. You’ve got to put a lot into it and try to go out there every day in practice to try to prove yourself. You earn the respect of your teammates by your work ethic and what you’re able to accomplish on a daily basis. That’s what football is all about to me.”
So, what has Brady done to earn the respect of his teammates? We asked a number of players on Thursday.
WR Brandon LaFell: “I definitely knew he was great, but on the outside all you see is Sunday’s. I didn’t see what we did Monday-Saturday. When I got here and when I saw us playing a game on the road and we’re flying back and I see him open his laptop and he is looking at film already, I didn’t see that. I didn’t see the amount of work he puts in after practice with our strength coach. I didn’t see the amount of work he put in before practice with our strength coach in the morning. I didn’t know how much detail he took in taking his receivers to the side and have us working on routes and being here and seeing that, that guys works his tail off.”
CB Kyle Arrington: “Tom hasn’t done it yet? Tom doesn’t think he’s done it yet. Leadership. Tom is the ultimate competitor, leader. He’s like Leonidas. You just want to go into battle with that guy. Not comparing that, but as far as leadership goes and the guy you can rally behind whether he’s Leonidas or Braveheart, he’s one of those guys. He’s pretty good.”
WR Brian Tyms: “He showed me his heart, man. I remember a play he had against the Dolphins the second time we played them when he ran for 17 yards and the safety was coming and instead of sliding he dropped the shoulder. I respect that, regardless. He’s 37-38, doing that is amazing to me and the consistency that he shows is that he works hard everyday. You have no choice but to respect that.”
QB Jimmy Garoppolo: “A guy who has been doing it for so long and being so successful at it, he still comes in and he puts in the time, the effort that a rookie would put in. It’s very impressive. That is the reason why he’s so good. To have that mindset is definitely an advantage.”
TE Tim Wright: “Consistency. It doesn’t matter — the highs, if it gets low — he has a consistent day every day he comes in to the building. That is to get better and that is what you want in the quarterback and the leader of your team.”
OL Cameron Fleming: “Honestly, from my standpoint, I think he gained it as soon as I walked in the door. I already had respect for him with all he accomplished and I think he basically made everything that I thought of him true. I’ve always thought of him as a hard worker and a good quarterback and a good leader. He’s been all those things.”
WR Josh Boyce: “Just on and off the field being a leader. Trying to help guys out, picking up guys at practice and things like that. He showed me a lot. He helps me out playbook wise, like different details, he wants me to do different things so he helped me out a lot. Everyone is the same. He treats everyone with the some respect.”
OL Dan Connolly: “We all have that time in the locker room that we spend with one another and he’s there with us interacting and we all have a good time together.”
C Bryan Stork: “He’s Tom Brady. He’s a hard worker and he gets the job done. It’s very respectful in my opinion. He just tries to get better every day, just like we all do.”