Levine: Rondo has nothing to prove

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Levine: Rondo has nothing to prove

This morning at Celtics practice, Rajon Rondo was asked if he'll have anything to prove when the C's take the court for Game 3.

His answer: "Why would I have anything to prove? I just want to win. Thats it. Im confused why you guys would think I have anything to prove. Its a game Ive been playing my entire life. The world knows what I can do. Im just going to play and do what I do best and be the best point guard in the NBA."

Rondo was also asked if he feels like he let his team down: "No," he said. "Do you feel like I let them down?"

Ahhh, that's pure Rondo.

Now first of all, it's hard to argue with his assessment of the question. Something to prove? The guy has a ring, back-to-back All-Star nods and a newly-minted assist title under his belt. He has nothing to prove. But that's not the point.

More than anything, the questions gave Rondo one more chance to apologize for what happened; to present one final act of humility before turning the page. Something like: "Yeah, I don't know about something to prove, but I'm obviously very sorry for the situation. That can't happen again. And it won't."

And I think, if put in that position, most athletes would've done just that. Taken a step back, eaten piece of humble pie and given the reporters and the rest of the world what they wanted.

But not Rondo.

He turned the question on its head. He heard "Do you have anything to prove?" and seemed to forget that the altercation even happened. He took that opportunity to show remorse and humility, and used it as a stage to pronounce himself the best point guard in the NBA!

And you know what? I love it.

Because it really doesn't matter. Honestly, does appeasing the media hordes with another public apology do anything for Rondo? Of course not. He understands the reality of the situation as much as anyone.

If he doesn't play well, everyone will use Game 1 as another example of why he's not cut out to lead the Celtics and try to run him out of town. If he plays well, everyone will go on and on about how Game 1 was such an important step in the maturation of the future leader of this great franchise.

Whether or not one thing has anything to do with the other is irrelevant.

So why play the silly game?

The only thing that matters is that Rondo has the respect and support of everyone in that locker room, and if you've listened to anything that's come from the Celtics players, coaches, Danny Ainge since the incident, it's abundantly clear that they're in his corner.

And with that, it's time to move on to Game 3 and hope that Rondo provides us all with something else to obsess about.

A triple-double would be nice.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Brady: Preseason reps help you adapt to the speed of the game

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Brady: Preseason reps help you adapt to the speed of the game

FOXBORO -- It's clear that Tom Brady wants to play at some point this preseason. What's a little less clear is what he thinks he stands to gain from preseason game reps in August when he won't be playing meaningful snaps until October. 

After explaining why he missed Thursday's preseason game with the Bears, which he was scheduled to start, Brady was asked on Tuesday if he feels as though he needs game reps before matching up with the Browns in Week 5.

"I don’t think any of them hurt," he said. "I think just do the best you can do. We’re preparing a lot of guys to get ready to play. I fit into that, but so do a lot of other guys. I’m just taking the advice of coach [Bill Belichick], and whatever he wants to do. I’m going to do everything I can to be ready to go when I am called upon. That’s what my responsibility is so that’s what I’m preparing to do."

If the only benefit of having Brady play against the Panthers in the third preseason game amounts to, "Well, couldn't hurt..." then it would come as some surprise if Belichick opted to play Brady anyway. Because it could hurt. It could hurt quite a bit should something flukey happen and Brady ends up worse off than he was after his recent run-in with a pair of scissors. 

Former assistant to the Patriots coaching staff Mike Lombardi, told WEEI recently that Brady needs to work in a preseason game before serving his four-game suspension. Why? 

"The speed of the game changes," Lombardi said. "You have practices against the Bears, but it’s kind of simulated and controlled. I think Tom wants to get the flow of the game . . . Because it’s the third preseason game, Jimmy [Garoppolo] is probably going to play as much into the third quarter as possible, and then you don’t want to put Tom out there with a lot of other guys that perhaps won’t make the team. The second game was kind of a game where he should have played a little bit to get his feet wet. He’s not going to play the fourth game against the New York Giants. That’s going to be Jacoby Brissett’s game. 

"I think [the Bears game] was the time, and that’s why [Brady] was going to play. Obviously something happened with the injury and that’s why he didn’t play . . . I know Tom needs to play in the preseason. He’s not just going to go waltz onto the field and feel the game is going to come right to him."

It feels as though Brady, after 16 years in the NFL, would be able to adapt to the speed of the game relatively quickly with or without preseason reps. But Brady expressed an opinion similar to that of Lombardi when asked about the difference between preseason snaps and practice snaps. He's seen plenty of the latter against the Bears, Saints and his own teammates.

"Well, I think you’re getting hit so just the space awareness, guys around you and ball security and things like that," Brady said. "For whatever, the last 30 practices, quarterbacks aren’t touched. Just standing there in the pocket, holding the ball knowing that they’re coming to get the ball and knock it out of your hands, hitting the ground, those types of things and so forth are important.

"You just have to feel things out, and the game is really the only place to get it because it’s regular speed. You don’t know what’s coming. We prepare, but we don’t obviously get to walk through the looks that we’re going to get. When you get out there you just have to make good decisions and go play quarterback the way that I’ve always tried to do."

Maybe it's to adapt to the pace of the game. Maybe it's to be faced with the real threat of contact. Maybe it's just because he can't stand not to be on the field when the Patriots are playing. Either way, Brady obviously hopes that he'll play on Friday night in Carolina. 

The question now is are the benefits great enough that Belichick will allow him to?

McAdam: Will this be Clay Buchholz's last start?

McAdam: Will this be Clay Buchholz's last start?

With Wright and Rodriguez set to return, Sean McAdam joins SNC to discuss whether Tuesday’s game against the Rays will be the last start for Clay Buchholz.