Brady: Life after football seems 'like the abyss'

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Brady: Life after football seems 'like the abyss'

FOXBORO -- Of all the numbers, statistics that get volleyed in the Tom Brady-Peyton Manning rivalry, there's one in particular that's quietly working to dominate the discussion.

Age.

So it's two numbers, really. Brady turned 35 to raucous training camp cheers this August. Manning is 36.

The Patriots quarterback has said several times that he wants to play until he's 40 at least. And why not? Warren Moon was 44 years and 27 days old when he made his last start.

Wednesday, four days before Manning's Broncos charge into town, Brady was asked why in the world he'd want to do such a thing. Why would he want to play such a physically punishing game for what would be 18 seasons?

"Play football?" he asked, with a barely mocking lilt to his tone.

The crowd of reporters laughed knowingly with the three-time Super Bowl champion.

"It's a great sport," he relented. "I love coming to work every day. I love the challenge that the weeks bring -- the mental challenge, the physical challenge. I love the training. I love being around my teammates.

"There's just not much else out there, other than my family. It's like the abyss, you know? There's nothing else."

That phrase -- "The Abyss" -- was a bit jarring. It made you hope for hyperbole from the quarterback, or maybe some unintentional melodrama.

But it's probably impossible to imagine the depth of an abyss, the swallowing darkness of it, unless you're forced to look down inside.

Maybe that's what happened to Manning when he was injured. Maybe the broken down nerves in his neck and multiple surgeries forced Manning's toes over the edge and he didn't like what he saw.

Nobody outside of his circle knows. Brady could barely hazard a guess himself.

"I know, just speaking to him a few times, his love for the game and his love for the competition obviously exceeds whatever he may feel, or whatever he may not feel. I don't even know what he feels; I haven't talked to him about that other than, I'm sure he's healthy enough to play or else they wouldn't clear him to play.

"I have a lot of respect for him."

Opponents in battle, but perhaps on the same side in a larger war.

Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

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Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

Even for some of the nation's top athletes, confident 20-somethings with the rest of their (perhaps very lucrative) lives ahead of them, there's a feeling you just can't shake when Bill Belichick walks into the room. 

"When you first meet him, you're scared," said Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, per WBZ. "He's quizzing you. It's like a little test. But after you get done with the test, the quiz or whatever, drawing up the defense, it's pretty cool. They're real down to earth people. Really cool."

Belichick was spotted at Ohio State's pro day getting a closer look at McMillan and his teammates on Thursday. He then headed off to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines showcase Friday.

During various scouting trips across the country, the Patriots appear to be showing significant interest in the incoming class of linebackers. Belichick spent some extra time with Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham -- who's projected to be a first-rounder -- at his pro day. The team reportedly scheduled a meeting with a speedy linebacker from Cincinnati. And Matt Patricia caught up with Notre Dame linebacker James Onwualu once his workouts finished up on Thursday. 

As for McMillan, the 6-2, 240-pounder was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some question as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level.

PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

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PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

Tom E. Curran has Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports as a guest to discuss the Aaron Hernandez double homicide trial. Wetzel has been in the courtroom, and wrote this piece about the day Hernandez’s former friend Alexander Bradley testified in court. 

After speaking with Wetzel, Curran has Tim Rohan of MMQB.com on to discuss his day with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

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