Brady excited to get back to football after bye

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Brady excited to get back to football after bye

Not a whole lot of football to be discussed after a bye week, but Tom Brady did his weekly interview on the Dennis and Callahan show on WEEI this morning and discussed a potpourri of topics.

First, a little bit of football.

"It will be fun to get back to football," Brady said. "It feels weird, you know. It's hard to stop your mind from thinking about the game. It's impossible to do that when all these other teams are playing. So, you just kind of get a little bit of rest while you can, and we're back to work today. It will be fun to get started on Buffalo."

Brady explained that he's always thinking of ways to make himself a better quarterback, whether there's a game later that week or not. As he described his obsession with his own self-improvement, he cited a documentary he saw recently.

"I saw a great documentary this weekend on the airplane, it was called . . . I don't even know how to pronounce his name . . . it was this Japanese sushi chef that I would encourage you guys to see it," said Brady, who couldn't quite remember the title "Jiro Dreams of Sushi."

"But he's 85 years old and the only thing he ever wanted to do was make sushi . . .  It was just his life-long commitment to being really great at what he loves to do. And he's 85 and still doing it. It's just amazing the commitment that it takes to do that.

"You think, 'Man, it's just simple, throwing a football or making a piece of sushi, how hard can that be?' " Brady added. "When it's something that you just love to do, you think about it. You wake up in the night and think about mechanics. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about what I can do better -- my foot stride and where my arm is and what I'm doing with the front side of the body.

"For some people it may be crazy to think that," Brady said. "But for me, that's just what I've always loved to do . . . I always seek my improvement from improving my mechanics so that every throw I make is absolutely perfect. It's exactly where I wanted to throw the ball and exactly the amount of velocity I wanted to put on the ball. Those are the types of things that I think about in my off time. That's what I was meant to do."

Here a few of the other topics Brady hit on in his interview:

What would he do if his pregnant wife were to go into labor on a game day?
"That's such a hypothetical," he said. "That's such an un-Belichick question. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. There's nothing more important than that, but there's also nothing more important than my job, and I've got a lot of people that are counting on me. Hopefully, that's not the case.

"Whenever it happens, it's meant to happen. She's prepared. She's got to do all the work, not me."

On Peyton Manning's successful return to football
Thats what great players do," he said. "Theres a consistent level of high performance and its no mystery. He works his butt off and Ive seen it first hand ... He loves the game and he loves to prepare, he pushes his teammates and he gets the best out of them.

On the state of his social life
"When you meet people, you don't want to be a jerk," said Brady, who will be at Aerosmith's free concert today on Commonwealth Avenue. "I remember those experiences when I was a young person. I got to meet 49ers star Dwight Clark and I got to meet Jeffrey Leonard, the Giant baseball player, and Chili Davis. I remember each of those experiences very well. When you're on the other end of that -- for me, I'm trying to go through just a day, and I feel like I've always felt. But sometimes you just want to make sure you have enough energy to deal with being a nice person. Because you don't always want to be a nice person. Sometimes you just want to be yourself. If I want to be myself, then I just stay in or do something private.

"I don't go out much anymore. I rarely do things. And I think that's probably the only thing -- you get a little bit accustomed to being a little bit of a loner. Because during the football season I need my energy for my teammates and for the game. Some people can go out and do things and be in public a lot and really get a lot of energy from that. For me, it's a bit draining. So, I just tend to be more of a loner. I just don't do much. I wish I could. I wish I could be out there. In some ways you get a bit anti-social and you get in the habit of being anti-social. It's hard to be social again, too. Because you're not used to going out and doing a lot of things."

"There was a time where I enjoyed the things that Gronk enjoys, too -- going out and being a free spirit and traveling around and enjoying a little bit of the limelight," Brady said. "For me, that wears off. Now this is a career and it's a life, and I have a family. There's a lot of commitments that are required of you that I really enjoy, but also, those are the priorities. There's more responsibility now just waking up in the morning than there was when I was 23 or 24. When that's the case for me, then you've got to begin to prioritize: What are the things that are important for me today? Especially during the football season, my job, there's nothing more important than that. As a leader and as a captain of the team I have to bring the energy and emotion to the field every day in practice. And I can't do that and be out at 9 o'clock at night or go to bed at 11 o'clock at night and think that's what I can be. My commitment a lot of the time is to my teammates and my football season.

"As you're a veteran player, you realize every year you're one step closer to the end. So, this is the year, this is the year you've got to think about. Because you don't know if there's ever going to be a next year."

What would he do if he was not a quarterback?
"I don't know," he said. "I was thinking about that this weekend, to tell you the truth. I don't know. I've never been forced to think about those things. Whatever I would have been, I would have brought the same characteristics to that profession, I know that. I was blessed with a work ethic. And that's something that is God-given, to me. I'm glad. It's really easy for me to go out to the gym for a few hours. It's really easy for me to go out to practice. I don't ever despise those things. That's something that I really enjoy doing.

"I'm lucky that I've never had to work a day in my life, to tell you the truth . . . I got the profession that I wanted to be, and there's not even a close second."

Who is he voting for on Tuesday?
"I'd rather not say," he said. "But I love this country. This is the greatest country in the world. When we're in places like London, and I talk to some of my teammates like Germany native Sebastian Vollmer, and I'm married to a woman from Brazil -- this is a great country.

"I hope we make the right decision. I don't know if there is a right decision. I always think that it starts with us. It's hard to expect one person to change the lives of 300 million. The change starts within all of us. I think that's more the message that I always try to talk to whoever I'm talking to about politics, that we're the ones that make the changes. Don't always look on the outside. At least, that's what I learned from football."

Haggerty: Marchand signing is Bruins' biggest win in years

Haggerty: Marchand signing is Bruins' biggest win in years

BOSTON -- It’s no understatement to say that Brad Marchand's eight-year, $49 million contract extension is one of the Don Sweeney's and Cam Neely's biggest recent victories.

It’s also undoubtedly a big win for Marchand: He gets what he wants; i.e., staying with a Bruins team that drafted and developed him from a rookie fourth liner into an impactful 37-goal scorer over the last six seasons.

“Boston has become my second home. I absolutely love it there. I’m very excited about what’s ahead for our team,” said Marchand to reporters in Toronto, where he's still representing Team Canada in the World Cup of Hockey. “I really believe in our team and our group and what we’re working towards. It’s a place that I’m very excited about being for the next number of years and potentially my whole career.

“We’ll talk more about everything after the tournament, but for now I just want to thank everyone who’s involved in the negotiations, my agent, and their team. I’m just very happy that everything’s done now and we can move forward.”

Marchand, 28, clearly gave the B's a hometown discount. Had he gone to free agency, he probably could have gotten $1 million more per season than the $6.125 million average annual value of the deal he agreed to.

As for the Bruins, they were able to lock up one of their most important core players for the balance of his career.

Marchand scored a career-high 37 goals and 60 points last season and is continuing his ascendency toward elite player status by tearing up the World Cup of Hockey this month on a line with Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron. The threat of him being wooed to Pittsburgh by Crosby, a fellow Nova Scotian, could have been very real had the Bruins dragged their feet in negotiations. But that wasn’t the tenor of the talks.

Let’s be honest: The way things have gone the last couple of years, it was very easy to envision the Bruins massively overpaying Marchand, given his expected value as a free agent. Or seeing Marchand and his agent, Wade Arnott, stringing them along before jumping to the highest bidder with the B’s left holding nothing, as was the case with Loui Eriksson.

Instead, Sweeney and Neely closed the deal . . . and at a team-reasonable rate. For that they deserve the kind of credit they haven’t enjoyed much of over the last couple of years as they've essentially dismantled an aging former Cup team while still trying to stay playoff-caliber.

“You’re going to have [free-agent defections] at every team," said Sweeney. "There will be [exiting] players. That’s just the way the league is built, parity, and being able to fit people in and out depending on how their roles are, and what you have in the pipeline to be able to take the place of players that are going to depart. That’s just forces of nature of the league itself.

“[But the] motivation was there from the get-go to try and find a deal with Brad . . . [You] realize that other players have left and the opportunity could be out there for him, and he’s very cognizant. He makes you very cognizant of it when you’re going through it.

“It’s a process that takes a long time to get through things. Great communication with their representatives -- with Brad’s representatives -- and it just felt like we would try and get to a good end point. The timing was obviously hard on Brad today, wanting to focus on the World Cup but, when you have a chance to get to the finish line you have to cross it. But it’s rightfully so not to take any attention away from what he’s doing right now because it’s important to him, but as was the contract to have it in place for all the parties. We got to the finish line and it’s really good for Brad and it’s really good for the Boston Bruins.”

It’s true Marchand might be a much different player by the time he’s 35 or 36 at the end of the deal. But it’s also true that a rising NHL salary cap will make this contract much more palatable as the years go by. The duo of Bergeron/Marchand is the most important, meaningful asset the Bruins have, and they needed to keep them together as a scoring, defending and special-teams threat every time they take the ice.

Marchand might not ever score 37 goals again like he did last season, but it’s no stretch to expect him to be around 30 or the foreseeable future. He has more short-handed goals than any other NHL player since joining the league in 2010-11, and the attitude and charisma he plays with on the ice is the kind of things that puts butts in seats.

Those players get paid and they get teams into bidding wars in the rare instances that they make it all the way to unrestricted free agency. So the Bruins scored a big victory in not allowing it to get to that point with a homegrown player who's come a long way from his early days as a detested agitator around the NHL.

C's players mull how to utilize platform as athletes for social commentary

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C's players mull how to utilize platform as athletes for social commentary

WALTHAM -- The national anthem protests by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick have had an undeniable ripple effect on professional sports teams across the country. And that includes the Boston Celtics.
 
“We as an organization know what’s going on,” said Marcus Smart. “We read and see and hear about it every day. It’s a sensitive subject for everybody.”
 
While it’s unlikely that Celtics players will do something similar to Kaepernick taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem, there’s no question some are figuring out the best way to utilize their platform as athletes to express their views on current social issues.
 
“Us athletes have to take advantage of the stage we’re on,” said Jae Crowder. “Try to make a positive out it. You can’t fix negative problems with negative energy. I don’t want to do anything negative; I want to do something positive, shed light on the situation.”
 
Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, and a number of professional athletes have tried to have more attention paid to recent killings of African-Americans by police officers where, based on the video footage, it appears excessive or unnecessary force was used.
 
It is a topic that has brought a wide range of responses from many in the sports world, including the dean of NBA coaches, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.
 
During the Spurs’ media day this week, he was asked about the Kaepernick’s protests.
 
“I absolutely understand why they’re doing what they’re doing, and I respect their courage for what they’ve done,” Popovich told reporters. “The question is whether it will do any good or not because it seems that change really seems to happen through political pressure, no matter how you look at it.”
 
As examples of the political pressure he was referring to, Popovich mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ability to galvanize group, as well as the NBA and other organizations pulling their events out of the state of North Carolina because of its legislation as it relates to the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.
 
“The important thing that Kaepernick and others have done is keep it in the conversation,” Popovich said.
 
And while there may be differing opinions as to whether Kaepernick or any other athlete should be protesting, the one common thread that seems to bind the Celtics players and the front office is them having the right to speak out not only as professional athletes, but Americans.
 
“The biggest thing is we all really value the freedoms that we have and that we’ve been allotted,” said coach Brad Stevens, who added that he has had individual discussions with players on this subject. “We certainly support an individual’s freedoms. It’s been great to engage in those discussions. It’s been really fun for me how excited our guys are about using their platform.”
 
And that more than anything else is why Crowder feels the Celtics have to have a united front as far as the message they present to the masses.
 
“If we want change we have to do it together,” Crowder said. “I feel like those guys (other athletes) used their platforms well. I think more athletes should do the same. You can’t do it with any hatred; you can’t do it with any negative. You have to do it with positive energy.”