Ron Borges made sense yesterday. He took to task the hand-wringers who have been scolding Tom Brady for being on the opposite coast when the voluntary off-season workout program began in Foxboro. Worried about Brady's focus, preparation and leadership, the critics are loudly blasting over the airwaves their dismay that the league's top quarterback isn't staying in the box they want to keep him in. Get married? Outrageous! Have children? He's doomed! Build a house? Jet around the world with his super-model-wife? That's it, he can't play anymore!
They would see him remain forever a young, hungry rookie, living almost a monk-like existance devoted entirely to football. Maybe they would accept some charitable works thrown in, some headlines about saving a drowning puppy and possibly allow him a suitable girlfriend, but that's it. The complaints are absurd and it's time to let him grow up and get out of the box.
If there's one thing Brady has always been, it's prepared. As a rookie drafted in the 6th round Brady clearly knew his place in the Patriots' pecking order. He moved up in the QB depth chart by working harder, studying longer and catching on quicker than the guys above him. He spent more time than anyone at Gillette - time that earned him a 'coveted parking spot' which he conceded to others in the past few years. I don't equate the loss of that parking spot or his marriage, children, support of his wife's career and his life outside of football, to Brady being any less the elite quarterback that he has proven to be.
Chris Gasper put it well in today's paper.
Know this: Brady plans to be in Foxborough at some point during the offseason conditioning program, and it could be as soon as next week. But even if he never shows up, Brady, he of the three Super Bowl titles, two Super Bowl Most Valuable Player awards and the greatest passing season in NFL history, is the last guy on the Patriots whose commitment level should be questioned.
Isn't this the same guy who showed up to work in a snowstorm last season less than 24 hours after the birth of his second child, Benjamin? The same guy who played last season with a broken finger on his throwing hand, a debilitating rib injury, and a sore throwing shoulder and never complained?
His dedication and preparation have been above reproach since he entered the league as a skinny sixth-round pick from Michigan in 2000. That's hasn't changed, even if his life circumstances (fatherhood) and where he conducts his offseason workouts (Los Angeles) have.
Tom Brady hasn't been drinking by the pool or partying hard out in L.A. He's been spending time with his son Jack. He's been working out at a gym and captured on film boxing with a trainer. There are pictures of him online throwing the football on the practice fields at UCLA. As Albert Breer wrote this morning, "So he's boxing and throwing and running and lifting and conditioning in Southern California, rather than Eastern Massachusetts? So what?"
So what indeed. Let Brady be the man that he is with a family and a life full of many interests along with a dedication to and passion for football. He's still an elite quarterback, and Patriots fans are lucky to have him leading the team (see Roethlisberger, Ben). Stop complaining and just let him out of the box.