FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (AP) - Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is known for being able to focus on his receivers in the face of oncoming rushers.
This season he plans to put that single-minded approach to another use _ keeping his contract negotiations from becoming a distraction to the team.
“Nobody here can solve it but myself and the team,” Brady said after practice Friday morning at New England’s training camp. “I’m in the position a lot of guys are around the league and on this team. I’m under contract and it’s my responsibility to come out and play as well as I can. I’ve always felt that’s what I love to do anyway _ to come out here and compete.”
Brady, who turns 33 Monday, said that he would like to play another 10 years, hopefully for the Patriots. He is making $6.5 million in the final year of his contract.
Brady believes he has the mental toughness to not let the contract talks or anything else become a distraction that would affect his play.
“We all deal with different stuff in our life _ some more challenging than others _ but I’m a leader on this team and I’ve been a captain for a long time. You just put those things off the field behind you and come here with a good attitude and show good leadership.”
Coach Bill Belichick said that Brady has things he needs to work on during camp, just like every player and is confident he will get the work done.
“Now’s the time to really start developing timing and consistency, feeling the rush and all those things a quarterback has to deal with such as time management, game management, so forth and so on.
“He works as hard as anybody does. He’s very professional. He’s got a great work ethic. … but there’s no substitute for being out there with 21 other players.”
Brady said the contract talks have not affected his relationship with the organization or the Kraft family.
“I’ve always been privileged to play for Coach Belichick, who I’ve always said is the best coach in the history of the league.”
Brady said his goal is to play his entire career with the Pats, but noted that’s he’s only under contract for one year and that no one’s future is guaranteed in the NFL.
Besides Brady’s contract, the absence of All-Pro guard Logan Mankins, who is holding out after refusing to sign a contract in the offseason, has been the other story at the first two days of camp.
“Logan’s been a good player and a great representative for this team,” said Brady, who also serves as a player representative for the NFLPA. “We miss him. He has a lot of good friends on this team.”
Brady said his surgically repaired left knee, which he injured nearly two years ago, feels “great.”