Speaking for the first time publicly since going down Wednesday in pain during a joint practice with the Buccaneers, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady downplayed the severity of the injury to his left knee, which did not keep him sidelined from practice Thursday or from a game Friday, saying he “felt bad it caused more of a media story than it actually was.”
“We were just trying to be smart,” he told the “Dennis & Callahan Show” on WEEI sports radio in Boston on Monday morning.
The 36-year-old went down after colliding with one of his own linemen who had been pushed backward by Bucs defensive end Adrian Clayborn.Brady said that he was never frightened the injury was serious, but after consulting with coach Bill Belichick and medical personnel, they deemed it best to depart practice.
“I wouldn’t say frightened, you’re just wondering what happened, because I didn’t obviously see anything,” he said. “You just feel something and react and I went back in for really to finish the period out that we had going and then just talked to Coach Belichick and our trainer and we figured we’d try to be safe.”
He added the injury drew much more attention than it deserved because it occurred during a public practice, with video of the play going viral after a fan captured it from the end-zone bleachers.
“There were a lot of people at practice that were witnessing,” Brady said. “If that was a Wednesday or Thursday practice during the regular season, you’d probably never hear about it.
“But it’s obviously the nature of Twitter and all that social-media stuff. But it happens on the practice field, it happens on the game field, you see so many injuries that have happened over the course of the preseason,” he said.
Brady returned to the practice field less than 24 hours after the injury occurred, wearing a protective knee brace that he has previously worn since suffering an ACL tear in the 2008 regular-season opener. Brady showed no ill-effects of the injury on Friday night, completing 11-of-12 passes and throwing his second touchdown of the preseason.
He stressed the importance of playing in preseason games, despite the exposure to the risk of an injury — to his knee or any place else.
“There’s risk of injury in practice, there’s risk of injury driving down to the stadium in the morning,” he said. “It’s your only game prep. I haven’t taken a hit in eight months. It’s just hard to say, ‘Let’s just see what we have against Buffalo.’ You’ve got to put it in, you’ve got to see where you’re at in terms of game speeds, in terms of reads. Things are different in a game.”
The Patriots open their regular-season schedule at Buffalo on Sept. 8. They’ll travel to Detroit on Wednesday to face the Lions in preseason action on Thursday night.