Josh McDaniels happy for Tom Brady, says on-the-job focus never wavered

ByMike Reiss via ESPN logo
Friday, September 4, 2015

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said the team's approach throughout the offseason "hadn't changed a whole lot" based on quarterback Tom Brady's legal fight against the NFL, and he praised Brady for how he stayed focus on his job.

"Tom's a veteran player with a lot of experience, and he's had to deal with different types of adversities and distractions in the past, whether it be injuries or personnel or something else," McDaniels said. "I thought he went out and practiced and improved, tried to do his job, worked at his craft and put in a lot of hard work in different areas of playing the position of quarterback. He was prepared, studied hard for practice and games, the OTAs, and all those things we've done. That's the best way to try to go about -- control the things you can control -- and I thought he did a good job of that."

Brady, who hasn't spoken publicly to reporters since his Super Bowl MVP news conference on Feb. 2, is expected to address reporters at some point between Saturday and Tuesday. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman erased Brady's four-game suspension for the Deflategate controversy, saying NFL commissioner Roger Goodell went too far in affirming punishment of the quarterback.

For now, Brady's teammates and coaches are doing the talking for him, though it's clear they'd like to avoid doing so if possible.

Asked Friday morning about Brady's rejoining the Patriots as a result of his four-game suspension being vacated, coach Bill Belichick said simply, "He never left."

Belichick, who declined to address Berman's decision after Thursday's preseason finale -- saying he would answer questions about the game only -- took a similar position in his standard day-after-game conference call.

Asked for his thoughts on Brady's availability for the first four games of the regular season, Belichick said, "We'll do the best that we can to have the best plan [and] best preparation for Pittsburgh, as we always do."

The Patriots host the Steelers in the NFL regular-season opener on Thursday.

Said McDaniels, "I'm happy for Tom. This week, hopefully we be able to just focus on football, and he'll be able to do that."

He added, "Quite honestly, it hadn't changed a whole lot of what we had done up to this point, and our preparation for the Steeler game should be normal. That's kind of how it had gone the last so-many months anyway, trying to get everybody prepared for the season."

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