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

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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.

 

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

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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."