Along with wondering how the Patriots are going to fare without Tom Brady during the first four games of the season, there’s been a lot of discussion during the past week about how No. 12 will be able to stay in the loop, not to mention keep his sanity, during his suspension.
After all, Brady is facing a month away from his football team. The workaholic quarterback won’t be allowed to have any contact with Bill Belichick or any other member of the Patriots coaching staff. Per league rules, he’ll essentially be persona non grata at Gillette Stadium while he serves his four-game Deflategate sentence to begin the season.
With the exception of losing a Super Bowl, this has to be Brady’s idea of football purgatory, assuming he comes out of training camp healthy.
The question remained: Might there be any loopholes to help Brady make the best of his Roger Goodell-imposed downtime?
For instance, can his good buddy Julian Edelman help keep him sharp by heading over to Brady’s house after practice to catch a few passes?
After consulting with Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s Vice President of Communications, the answer is no. Edelman, Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski and any other Patriots pass catcher are not allowed go to Brady’s backyard, or non-Gillette Stadium field of choice, and throw the ball around with the suspended quarterback. Even that’s a no-no.
Brady can’t “engage in any team football-related activities or discussions with teammates, even if away from the club facility.” Playing catch is among the prohibitions, according to a set of parameters provided by McCarthy.
As it is, Edelman, Amendola, et al, are going to be pretty busy trying to keep backup Jimmy Garoppolo and the Pats offense afloat during that time, so Brady surely has others in mind to help keep him sharp during his hiatus.
Who knows, maybe retired Patriots greats and former Brady favorites Troy Brown or Deion Branch will take turns hauling in passes for the suspended quarterback.
“I’m pretty sure he has that lined up already. That’s the type of guy he is, that’s the type of competitor he is,” former teammate Kevin Faulk, another of Brady’s former go-to-guys, told the Herald Thursday when asked who he thought might be contacted. “He’s going to try and find someone that still has a little something in the tank that can work him, as much as he can work them. He’ll want to throw to someone who’s pretty familiar with the offense.”
Faulk would have volunteered, but he will be in the midst of coaching his hometown high school football team in Louisiana during that time period. But ultimately, finding throwing partners or a place to play outside of Gillette — even at odd hours — shouldn’t be a problem for someone as connected as Brady.