Tom Brady the Adventurer

826707.jpg

Tom Brady the Adventurer

And we were worried about the Summer of Gronk.

Have you seen the photos of Tom Brady cliff jumping last week in Costa Rica!? Good God, man. Its not worth it. Think of the team. Think of the fans. Think of the children!

Think of . . . eh, whatever.

In all seriousness, Bradys Costa Rican adventure looked like a pretty awesome time. I also appreciate that the cameras caught him flying through the air like a bad ass, as opposed to yelling Weeee! on his way down a childrens water slide like last year.

But most of all, back to present time, its just great to see Brady back in camp, looking all healthy and Brady-like and ready to lead the Pats for a 12th straight season. Even after all these years, hes still the single greatest thing about being a sports fan in this town, and will be until the day he hangs them up (unless he goes bonkers and starts posting extreme political opinions on his Facebook fan page.)

But that love for Brady is also why I hate watching him this time of year. Of course, there are exceptions. Im OK with a few skeleton drills. I never get sick of watching him fade back against an invisible defense and hit a receiver in stride. But once you get to real football. Whether its an inter-squad scrimmage, a joint practice with the Saints, or even worse, the pre-season. Im all set. Id rather fit Brady for a protective bubble and glue his ass to the bench than risk a stupid injury. Once the pre-season starts, Im literally watching every offensive play through one eye.

Honestly, though. How much does he really need to play between now and Week 1? Whats the difference? He already has a rhythm and relationship with every receiver on the roster (Welker, Branch, Gronk, Hernandez, Stallworth, Gaffney, Edelman, Slater) but Lloyd, and the two of them can work that out in practice. After a full season of trying to connect with Ochocinco, Brandon Lloyd will be a breeze for Brady. They're already in a good place.

Do they really need to risk him rolling an ankle, smacking his hand on a helmet, or some over-anxious, undrafted free agent busting through the line and hitting him at the knee?

No, they don't. But I figure they will.

Still, I'd rather Tom Brady jump off 10 cliffs in Costa Rica than take 10 snaps in the pre-season. I'd even excuse him for the occasional: "Weeeee!"

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

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Football is coming.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.

Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.

The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.