Brady's mother's illness was a weight for him to bear this season

Brady's mother's illness was a weight for him to bear this season

HOUSTON -- Tom Brady’s eyes moistened Monday night when asked who is his hero. “My Dad,” Brady replied.

Asked on Tuesday what elicited that emotion, Brady acknowledged, “It's been a challenging year for my family, just for some personal reasons. It'll just be nice having everyone here watching us this weekend. That's my mom and dad. They've been so supportive my entire life, it's nice to be able to show them . . . to try to make them proud . . . My mom hasn't been to a game this season. My dad has been to [only] one. It's very atypical.”

A Brady family source told me Tuesday that Brady’s mother, Galynn, has been dealing with health issues for the past 18 months. She’s been doing much better recently, but her illness has been a major source of concern for the family, including Tom Brady Sr., and Brady’s sisters, Julie, Maureen and Nancy.

The family is very close. In early 2012, on the Saturday before Super Bowl 46, the team held its walkthrough and took team pictures at Lucas Oil Stadium with their families in attendance. At the end, Brady left the field with the rest of the team. He hadn’t spent much time with his family, it seemed. A few minutes later, he returned to the field in regular clothes and spent another 15 minutes with his parents, sisters and their husbands in a scene that really demonstrated the family’s closeness. It’s a closeness they’ve been able to maintain even as Tom reached the heights of stardom in the NFL and had myriad more pulls on his time and attention.  

Mrs. Brady has been cited through the years as the source of the family’s athletic prowess – all three Brady daughters were outstanding softball players. While the illness curtailed Mrs. Brady’s golf game over the summer, she was able to get back out and play nine holes recently. Back in October, when it was mentioned to Brady that’s he’s not the fastest player on the field, Brady countered that his Mom thinks he’s the fastest player in the NFL

SUPER BOWL LI: TUESDAY REPORT

Brady’s decision to drop further appeals in the Deflategate saga was, in part, informed by his mother’s condition. There were much bigger fish to fry than battling all the way to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Brady was able to spend time with his family during September that he may not have been able to otherwise.

It’s been interesting to watch Brady this season remain very positive and stoic about the “hand he was dealt” by the NFL in Deflategate. The serenity maybe was caused in part by the knowledge that there really were much more important things going on for him than lamenting his own situation in football. Much more important.

 

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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