Unless your significant other inexplicably has been spending the past few weeks in Foxborough, Mass., you have no reason to fear Tom Brady.
He will not hurt you or your fantasy team. You can trust him.
(On the subject of fear, I wrote this column days ago, so I was horrified for about two hours Wednesday afternoon once word got out that Brady left practice with an apparent leg injury. On Twitter, a frightening narrative began to develop. He got hit in the knee. He limped off the field. He briefly lost consciousness. He was read last rites. But then he miraculously survived and returned to the field for a few plays before ending his day early. I still have no idea which parts of that were true, but it doesn’t matter now because I do know his MRI was negative and life as we know it can continue.)
As I was saying …
A lot has been made in the offseason about what the Patriots quarterback no longer has:
• Wes Welker (now a Bronco)
• Danny Woodhead (now a Charger)
• Brandon Lloyd (now unemployed)
• Aaron Hernandez (now in jail)
And as you may have heard, if Rob Gronkowski, who’s undergone more operations since late last season than an electronic Milton Bradley game, is not ready by Sept. 8, Brady will start the season without his five top targets from 2012.
That’s unheard of, so I understand the trepidation. I get why Brady is dropping in drafts. People don’t trust him to adjust to his latest challenge. But if there’s one thing you should be confident of, it’s that Tom Brady will adjust. He may have lost a lot, but he retains an uncanny ability to adapt his game, an ability that has allowed him to enjoy one of the most amazing career arcs in NFL history.
For a little perspective, let’s take a quick look at Brady’s primary competitor for best quarterback of his generation: Peyton Manning. Manning came into the league as the No. 1 overall pick, a guy expected to throw a bunch of touchdowns for a lot of years. And he’s done just that.
But Brady is a self-made superstar. He entered the league as a sixth-round afterthought, a guy without pedigree or expectations. He was unexpectedly called upon early in his second season after an injury to then-Patriots starter Drew Bledsoe. An unknown commodity, he was tasked not with winning games, but not losing them. He played that role to perfection, all the way to the first of his three Super Bowl titles.