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For years, the Tom Brady everyone saw and thought they knew was the obsessed competitor who once said that when his team got an opponent down, he wanted to put his foot on that opponent’s throat and finish them.
That Brady fit the mold of an all-time great quarterback with the great passing records who would be photographed flashing — and, yes, showing off — his six and now seven Super Bowl rings.
That guy is still around. This season, Brady enters the NFL’s final week leading the league in completions (456), passing yards (4,990), and touchdown passes (40).
But lately, Brady has been showing a different side — a compassionate side.
He’s shown a side more understanding of weakness and aware of the psychological and emotional pain in others, some of them teammates.
That Brady was front and center after Tampa Bay’s victory over the New York Jets last weekend, talking about the bizarre walk off the field by receiver Antonio Brown in the middle of the game, and imploring everybody to “help him in ways that he really needs.”
Brady urged everyone to be “compassionate” and “empathetic” toward Brown because of “some very difficult things that are happening.”
The next day, Brady expanded on that during his weekly “Let’s Go!” podcast with Jim Gray.
“I don’t think anyone’s living in anyone else’s shoes,” Brady said when the topic of Brown came up. “So you don’t necessarily know what other people are going through. All’s you do is show up to work every day and try to do your job. And you obviously recognize there’s a lot of teammates in the locker room and you build relationships with those teammates. And I’ve done it for a long period of time — a lot of years. And you get to know people, you really try to do anything you can to help them.
“My dad said something the other day. He said, ‘All we can do is the best we can do with the opportunities that are presented to us.’ And whatever that means for different people, that’s on the field, off the field, family life, professional life, I’m going to try to do the best I can do with the circumstances I’m presented for me as a person. And I try to live with integrity. I try to live with honesty. And, you know, I care about people beyond the football field as well.”
Brady mentioned how mental health was a factor in the career of former Dolphins running back Ricky Williams decades ago. He mentioned Calvin Ridley’s decision to step away from the Atlanta Falcons this year.
“Again, it’s a very difficult situation that everyone’s dealing with and it’s shown itself, obviously, in this example [Sunday],” Brady said. “But it showed itself in the Olympics with Simone Biles and she came out and spoke quite a bit about it. So it’s definitely more prevalent than we used to think.
“We used to think we were just all robots out there and we go out there and we play, and it’s more than that now. I think there’s a recognition of that. There’s a humanity to everything we’re doing out there. And it’s very comforting to know that people are seeing athletes in deeper ways than in just their potential on the field as well.”
So the most successful NFL quarterback of all time is now the most outspoken proponent of understanding and compassion for athletes dealing with issues of the mind and soul.
Carson Wentz Takes Care Of the Football On The Road
The Indianapolis Colts need to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday to earn a playoff spot, and it could be argued a trip to North Florida to play a reeling team that lost its last game 50-10 shouldn’t be a huge problem.
If the Colts can’t beat the Jaguars, they probably don’t deserve to be in the playoffs anyway.
But the beauty of the this trip for the Colts beyond the grand opportunity it offers is that quarterback Carson Wentz has been outstanding on the road this season.
Not good. Outstanding.
Wentz has thrown 10 TD passes in seven road starts this season. Good. But he has not thrown an interception on the road all season long, which is great.
If Wentz avoids throwing an interception against the Jaguars on Sunday, he will become the first NFL quarterback to start eight road games and not throw an interception.
And here’s the thing: If the Colts do make it into the playoffs, they’ll be on the road.
Despite this, there is a question among the Indy media whether Wentz — more than solid with 26 TDs and 6 interceptions this season — can be trusted in the playoffs if the Colts need to be balanced with run and pass to advance.
“I think we around here – myself, this whole offense, coaches, receivers, O-line, everybody – know really from the onset of the season that we’re going to be able to win ball games in a variety of ways,” Wentz said Wednesday. “I think we strung a stretch there where we won the games by running the ball. That kind of became what we are.
“But at the same time, we believe wholeheartedly that at any point if we need to air it out and win in the passing game, that we can do that.”
Josh Allen Wants Playoffs Payoff
The Buffalo Bills are the only AFC East team to make the postseason the past three seasons, and this will indeed be the club’s fourth time in the playoffs the past five seasons.
That suggests coach Sean McDermott, who’s been the coach the past five seasons, has established something in Western New York.
But quarterback Josh Allen doesn’t think making the playoffs is enough anymore.
“It speaks a lot about the guys in this locker room, about the front office and the guys on our coaching staff,” Allen said Wednesday. “Being as consistent as possible. Three years in a row is not easy. Winning’s not easy in this league, and you need to celebrate it when you can.
“But at the same time, we’re not just hoping to get into the playoffs. That’s not our goal. Our main goal at the start of the season is to give ourselves a chance to win the Super Bowl, and yes, to get to the Super Bowl you have to get into the playoffs. We’ve accomplished that goal, but we have loftier ones ahead of us.”