Tom Brady sidesteps contract questions

Updated: September 8, 2010, 8:53 PM ET
By Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady deflected questions Wednesday about reports that he is closing in on a contract extension with the team, repeatedly saying his focus instead was on Sunday's season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Brady The reality is I have a job to do and my job isn't revolved around worrying about what my future is right now. My job is to be the best leader for this team that I can be, and really to get ready to play the Bengals, and play really well. Because of that, I think it's pretty selfish if I sit here and that's all I'm worried about -- myself.

-- Tom Brady on WEEI

"I don't want to get into it," Brady said during his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio station WEEI on Wednesday morning. "For me, it's the same as it's been. I'm trying to find a way to score some touchdowns against the Bengals. I didn't spend five minutes yesterday thinking about my contract or future."

Brady added that it's "pretty uncomfortable talking about a contract, because I know how coach [Bill] Belichick feels talking about it, and [owner Robert] Kraft does, and Jonathan [Kraft] does.

"It's an ordinary Wednesday," he said. "We're getting ready for the Bengals."

Contract discussions between the Patriots and Brady escalated Tuesday to the point where a deal could be completed before New England opens its regular season, a source close to the situation told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Discussions between the two sides have focused on a four-year deal. The previous two contracts that Brady has signed have been for four years, and the expectation is this one also will be for four.

The value of Brady's new contract is expected to be between $18 million and $20 million per season, which means it likely would be valued between $72 million and $80 million.

During a news conference in the Patriots locker room Wednesday afternoon, Brady emphasized that his relationship with the team and ownership was a good one, deal or no deal.

"I really love being here and playing for Mr. [Robert] Kraft and Jonathan [Kraft]," Brady said. "Our relationship isn't based on how much money he pays me. 'I'm great when he pays me what I want, and I hate him when ...' -- I mean, that's not the way relationships work.

"I've had friends like that in the past. That's not the type of friends you want. It's very unconditional -- the relationship I have with Coach Belichick and the whole organization. I'm blessed to play here and I love playing here. I think we're all fortunate to play for a team that's committed to winning. If that's the goal for all of us, if you want to win, you really appreciate where you're at."

In response to questions about a potential extension during his morning radio interview, Brady kept turning the focus back to the Bengals.

"The reality is I have a job to do and my job isn't revolved around worrying about what my future is right now," he said. "My job is to be the best leader for this team that I can be, and really to get ready to play the Bengals, and play really well. Because of that, I think it's pretty selfish if I sit here and that's all I'm worried about -- myself."

Brady would like to finalize the deal this week, before the Patriots open the season Sunday against Cincinnati. This is logical. In the Patriots' opener two seasons ago, then Kansas City safety Bernard Pollard rolled into Brady's knee, injuring it and ending the quarterback's season.

"I think everybody on our team would [like to have a new deal before the start of the season], every coach would. That's not the way things work," Brady said.

One source told Schefter he thought a deal could be done this week, but it would not surprise him if it were next week.

In his afternoon news conference, Brady acknowledged that injuries have helped to shape his approach toward the business side of the game. Interestingly, he also acknowledged having four surgeries during his career.

"That's a big part of it," Brady said. "This is a physical game. I've had four surgeries in eight years -- my shoulder and my knee and my groin ... and another one, too. But, pretty much every other year you're having a surgery. Some are major ... all surgeries are major as far as I'm concerned now.

"You count your blessings when you come off the field; I think you have a new appreciation when you do come off the field, win or lose. You're trying to win every time out, obviously. But I think you also pinch yourself every time you walk off the field healthy and say, 'Man, at least I get a chance to go out next week and play also.'"

Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com. ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter contributed to this report.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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