Brady: 'It's been such an enjoyable offseason'

new-england-patriots-tom-brady-appeal-2-62415.jpg

Brady: 'It's been such an enjoyable offseason'

For the first time since his appearance at Salem State College May 7th, and just the 2nd time since the Wells Report was released, Tom Brady spoke in front of an audience.

The Patriots quarterback made light of his offseason by cracking a "it's been such an enjoyable offseason” to laughter from those in attendance at the 2015 Patriots Premiere held at Gillette Stadium.

Brady’s response came when the event’s emcee, former Pats QB and the team’s current radio color commentator Scott Zolak, asked the quarterback and several of his teammates to name the one coolest thing they did that really allowed them to celebrate as Super Bowl Champs. Matthew Slater got married 6 days after the Pats beat the Seahawks, Devin McCourty got engaged and Rob Gronkowski gushed about how much he enjoyed celebrating the title while on the Duck Boats. Brady was then pressed about cliff diving before making that remark.

The Patriots quarterback still faces a four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate and what the NFL says is a lack of cooperation. There was hope a ruling would be made on his appeal earlier Tuesday by Judge Richard Berman, however that didn’t come to pass. Berman instead indicated an order might come late in the week. That would likely bleed into the Pats preparation for their regular season opener Thursday, September 10th versus the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium. Not an easy spot for the Pats nor Brady to be in, but the quarterback appeared to be in good spirits as he talked about his experiences in Foxboro and with this organization.

“The commitment the players make, and the commitment the coaches make to try to establish such a high level of play year in and year out is something I’ve really learned from being here,” said Brady. “I try to pass those things on to the next generation of great Patriot players, and sometimes they don’t listen very well, but you just keep saying it - just like I tell my kids - and you have to repeat it over and over and over again and hopefully maybe it sinks in.”

It should be noted that a one-hour passing clinic with Brady that included lunch and a tour of the locker room raised 85,000 dollars for the Patriots Charitable Foundation in the team’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

bill-belichick-patriots-practice-072916.jpg

Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

FOXBORO -- After starting the offseason "five weeks behind," as Bill Belichick put it, the Patriots have caught up. 

"I think we’re probably caught up to where we are now," he said before Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium. "I think it’s being behind in draft, free agency and that type of thing.

"I think at this point, we’re ready for OTAs. We’ll be ready for training camp. I think that part of it we’ll be on schedule on. It’s the catching up on all the spring projects, draft and free agency. It’s the initial part of it."

Belichick made headlines on the morning after winning his fifth Lombardi Trophy with the Patriots when he said, "As of today, and as great as today feels and as great as today is, in all honesty we're five weeks behind in the 2017 season to most teams in the league. Fortunately we have a great personnel staff

"Look, in a couple weeks we're going to be looking at the combine, obviously the draft, all-star games have already occurred, and in a month we're into free agency, not to mention all the internal Patriots players (whose) contracts are up and we're going to have to work with in some form or fashion like every team in the league does."

Leaning on evaluations of players that began in the build-up to previous drafts, Belichick and his staff opted to trade away some of this year's draft capital for veterans like Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Dwayne Allen. They also gave up their fifth-rounder to sign restricted free agent Mike Gillislee.

Before heading out to the team's third practice of the week -- the first week the Patriots were allowed to introduce helmets and run offense versus defense periods -- Belichick said that part of his focus will be spent on finding out how those players he picked up this offseason are progressing.

"Yeah, that’s definitely part of it," he said. "Seeing the new players, how they’re doing and also how they’re doing relevant to the rest of the other players that I’m a little more familiar with. Again, each year is a new year, so even though we’ve seen some of these guys multiple years, it’s still starting all over again, seeing where they are, how they’re progressing in their training and preparation for the season."