Patriots unearth Tom Brady’s first conference call with reporters after New England drafted him in 2000 – CBS Boston

BOSTON — Where were you on April 16, 2000? You may not have even noticed, but it was the day that everything changed for the New England Patriots and the National Football League.

That was the date that the Patriots took a flier with the 199th overall pick in the draft on Michigan quarterback Tom Brady. We know now what Brady was able to accomplish, winning six Super Bowls in New England before adding another Lombardi Trophy to his trophy cabinet with the Buccaneers, cementing his status as the undisputed greatest quarterback of all time.

What we certainly don’t remember is the conference call that Brady had with reporters after being drafted on that fateful April day back in the year 2000. Fortunately, the Patriots — as part of their preparation for celebrating Brady’s career next weekend during the team’s season opener — kept a recording of that conference call and shared it with the world on Thursday.

The Patriots typically hold these conference calls with every draftee, allowing the local media to get to know the young additions to the team. While Brady certainly drew a fair level of attention for his call due to his being a quarterback, it wasn’t exactly considered headline news when the sixth-round pick spoke publicly for the first time as a professional football player.

All these years later, though, it’s a fascinating listen.

Here’s a transcript of that call.

Q: Tom, you’re coming into a system where they have a quarterback everybody knows. What’s you’re feeling about backing up Drew Bledsoe?

Brady: Well it’s certainly, uhh … all’s I was looking for was a place to get my foot in the door and try to be great for the team that picked me. And, you know, Drew Bledsoe is certainly one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and it’s gonna be great to learn under him and compete for a job with the Patriots.

OK, quick interruption. But right off the bat, Brady is asked about backing up Bledsoe, and it takes him all of 10 seconds to state that he planned on competing for a job. The man’s psychotic level of competitiveness showed up on day one.

All right, back to the call.

Q: Are you aware that there’s another quarterback here too that they drafted last year, Michael Bishop from Kansas State?

Brady: Yes, I am. I know Mike, seen him play last year and I know he’s a heck of a player. You know, it’s just up to me. I think that the team picked me to come in there and go out there and be a team player and fight every day, and that’s really what I plan to do. I’ve always really concerned myself with the things I can do and I don’t put a whole lot of thinking into the other guys because I know that I’m not really at my best when I’m not controlling and playing as well as I possibly can.”

Sorry, we’re stopping the tape again. Brady held true to this line of thinking for just about his entire career. Whether it was the media calling for Jimmy Garoppolo to play, whether it was the league commissioner going a touch overboard to try to pin him with some bogus and defamatory charges, whether it was a brewing feud with his head coach, Brady always — ALWAYS — just put his head down and delivered. In fact, that draft-day quote sounds a lot like this comment he made amidst the preposterous DeflateGate saga: “What I’ve learned from myself is, I don’t want to give my power away to other people by letting my own emotions be subjected to what their thoughts or opinions are. So if someone calls me something, that’s their problem. It’s not my problem. I’m not going to give away my power.”

That quote was made in 2017. As a 22-year-old, he had a very clear vision of how to approach his job.

Back to the call!

Q: Tom, you were projected to go a little bit higher than this. Are you disappointed?

Brady: I don’t think disappointed is the word. I think, you know, I mean, the team that has drafted me, I’m just very comfortable with. And whether it be in the second round or the sixth round, I think everyone starts on the same, the same level. And it’s just a great opportunity to head back to New England and play for the Patriots. It’s certainly been a dream come true.

Q: We’ve talked to a couple guys today that are pushing about 350 [pounds]. There was a report at the end of the year that you finished at 195. How are you doing physically now? What do you weigh in at now?

Brady: I’m about 213, 214. I had tried to — I slimmed down a lot, I was pretty, I was a little bit lean. I was really trying to improve my speed and my escapability. And at that point I was sick a couple days before, and my natural weight is about 210. That’s what I’m at, about 212 right now.

Q: Hey, you kind of had like a platoon system at quarterback at Michigan. Could you talk about how you were used there and why they did that?

Brady: Sure. At Michigan, I mean, as a lot of people know, we have a lot of great players there. I mean you guys got a great pick from from Michigan, Chris Floyd, who plays for you now. We’re always competing against the best players and the kid I was competing with is going to be a heck of a talent. And the coach just felt it was best for him to get some experience and to get in there and play some games and do whatever was best for the team. And that’s the way I took the approach and everything really certainly worked out for me.

Do what’s best for the team. Easy to see why Bill Belichick took a liking to a young Tom Brady.

Q: Tom, you were drafted for baseball out of high school. Is baseball no longer even an issue or … ?

Brady: Yeah, it’s really not. I played catcher in high school and I got drafted by the Montreal Expos and I just decided I wanted to go back to Michigan and be the starting quarterback and play in front of 112,000 people. And certainly, this is a great step for me. It’s gonna be a great challenge, but I think I’m ready for it. Actually, I know I’m ready for it.

So confident! The young man had no idea that his shirtless combine pic would become a meme years later. He also didn’t know what a meme was, because it was 2000. Anyways.

Q: And the fact that you were — at least according to the scouting report — so much like Drew, is it a plus for you to be working under him?

Brady: Oh definitely, definitely. I can remember seeing him in the Super Bowl, and I mean, the poise and composure, and the way he plays the game. It’s great to see and I’m just extremely excited to get an opportunity to go and learn under him and be ready to play when the team calls on me.

And there it is. Brady’s call — at least this particular clip — ends with Brady turning a question about being a backup into an answer about being ready to play in the NFL. At the time, anyone listening to the call likely chalked it up as a rookie with big eyes and big dreams who was due for a humbling experience in the NFL. And to a large extent, that came, as Brady did make the roster as a rookie but only got in during garbage time of one single game.

The next year, we all know what happened to Bledsoe, and we all know what Brady did thereafter. This conference call, though, shows that Brady had a very focused, specific plan to seize that opportunity as soon as it presented itself. Suffice it to say … the man delivered on his word.

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