- Associated Press - Thursday, September 9, 2010

BOSTON (AP) - New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was unhurt in a two-vehicle accident near his home Thursday morning and hours later practiced as usual with his team just days before the season opener. He then agreed to a four-year extension that would make him the NFL’s highest paid player, according to a person with knowledge of the contract.

The contract is worth an average of $19 million per year and begins in 2011, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the paperwork had not yet been filed with the NFL. Brady is making $6.5 million this season.

The crash, at an intersection in Boston’s Back Bay area, knocked over a light pole and sent a passenger in the minivan that collided with Brady’s car to a hospital with injuries that were serious but not considered life-threatening, a police report said.

A witness told The Associated Press that the two-time Super Bowl MVP was approaching the intersection on a green light when his black Audi sedan collided with the minivan.

The 21-year-old driver of the Mercury Villager minivan, Ludgero Rodrigues, was cited Thursday for failing to stop at a red light, based on witnesses statements, police said. Two other people in the minivan were able to exit and had no visible injuries, they said.

The police report, which did not name Brady, said the driver of the Audi had no visible injuries and was evaluated by Emergency Medical Services. It said a 49-year-old passenger had to be freed with the Jaws of Life and was taken to a hospital.

Rodrigues’ driver’s license had been suspended at least five times in three years, Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Ann Dufresne said. Last year, his license was suspended for 180 days after he was arrested for operating under the influence and refused to take a blood-alcohol test, Dufresne said.

RMV records also show that Rodrigues had been charged with a number of moving and traffic violations.

A telephone listing for Rodrigues could not immediately be found Thursday.

Brady’s father had just arrived in Boston from the family’s California home early Thursday and found out about the accident when he got off his flight.

“I understand he’s fine, but I haven’t talked to him,” Tom Brady Sr. told the AP outside his son’s home three blocks from the accident site.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick told the team about the accident before practice and said Brady might be a bit late, linebacker Tully Banta-Cain said.

“I was hoping, obviously, that he was OK, but I saw him walking in. He had a smile on his face, no abrasions, so I think he’s fine,” Banta-Cain said.

The Patriots open their season at home Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Brady is entering the final year of his current contract _ a six-year, $57.3 million deal.

His new contract was first reported by Peter King of Sports Illustrated during halftime of NBC’s telecast of the Minnesota-New Orleans game.

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