Just read another excellent Sports Illustrated article about Tom Brady, this one from the January 23rd issue. In it author Tim Layden writes about the many connections Brady had quietly made with receivers over the past 26 seasons (including four at Sierra High School and five at Michigan). In 17 NFL seasons Brady has thrown completions to 99 different receivers, including 16 receivers who only caught a single pass. This group includes HOF TE Kellen Winslow and offensive linemen Joe Andruzzi and Logan Mankins. Some of the highlights:
John Kirby was Brady’s receiver when they were both high school freshmen. Now Kirby is an assistant coach at their alma mater. They still talk or text a couple times a year. Last summer a Sierra graduate was shot and killed in a San Francisco Park. The grad’s family had moved from Boston to SF a few years ago. The grad had been friends with Kirby. Kirby talked to Brady, who volunteered to write a letter to the family. Brady’s letter, two handwritten pages, was delivered ten days after the shooting.
Giovanni Toccagino was another receiver in high school, who hadn’t stayed in touch with Brady (he didn’t want to be “that” guy). When his six year-old had to write a celebrity for a school assignment, Giovanni suggested Brady. A few weeks’ later a note arrived in the mail from Brady, along with some autographed pictures.
At Michigan Brady shared an apartment with tight end Aaron Shea, who remembered hearing Brady leave every morning at 5:30 am to run steps. When his son was born in 2011 Shea texted Brady, asking him to be the godfather. Brady texted back “It would be my honor.”
Last fall Shea and his family met Brady in the stadium tunnel after the game in Cleveland. Without being asked, Brady gave the family his jersey.
Tai Sheets, one of Brady’s receivers at Michigan, doesn’t text Tom much, but traveled to Indy and met Brady after the Colts game. Sheets called him “down to earth.”
In 2006 David Terrell, another Wolverine receiver of Brady’s, took his 8 year-old son to watch one of Brady’s off-season workouts. Brady threw passes to the kid, who last year played for the Illinois state championship (and is a huge Brady fan).
When Brady won his record 201st game, former Patriots receiver Deion Branch sent him a congratulatory text: “it was an honor to have played some of those games with you.” Brady texted back “It was an honor to play with you.”
Patriots receiver Julian Edelman: “Tom taught me how to be a professional, how to treat people in the workplace.” “He went out of his way to take me under his wing.”
When Donte Stallworth dropped a touchdown pass in practice Brady started yelling. Stallworth though the QB was mad at him, but Brady was mad that he hadn’t led Stallworth enough. Against the Cowboys Brady called a play. After the huddle broke he and Stallworth realized the receiver had never practiced it before. Brady said “just go deep” – and they connected on a 69 yard TD.
Pats receiver Chris Hogan played lacrosse in college, was cut by three teams, played four years for the Bills before signing with the Pats. When he introduced himself to Brady, Tom knew who he was.
Late Friday afternoon I got involved in some projects and stayed at work until six. C was going shopping and I was to meet her at the Avalon in Alpharetta. On the way I stopped by the bank and two thrift stores. After we met I headed out toward Roswell and realized I needed to drop off my car at the shop. While she shopped I stopped by two QuikTrips looking for their pizza, RaceTrac, two more thrift stores, a Shell station, and Taco Bell.
The drive thru line at Taco Bell was too long so I went inside. Ordered one of those triple layer crunchwap supremes. Had it been fewer layers it would’ve been all taco shells. Good though. Then I met C at the shop. So it was late when we got home.
Saturday morning I cleaned some upstairs. C went to the Y and later took me to get my car. She drove to Clarkston to help with the Refuge Coffee yard sale. I was headed to the office to do taxes. As a pre-reward I stopped by Ci Cis Pizza for lunch. Got to the office at 12:30 and stayed past six. First did Anna’s taxes then Matthew’s, then got going on mine. Did 95% of the taxes but have a few things I need to look up. Didn’t get home until after 7 pm.
My stomach wasn’t feeling well the rest of the evening – I have no idea why. Didn’t eat anything else. Watch the new Hallmark Channel movie starring Danica McClellar (aka Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years). Slept real good.
M had a big weekend. Worked Friday night. Drove west to Douglasville, then east to Chamblee, south to Little Five Points, and back west to Douglassville before coming home. Sunday his band practiced, then he worked again.
I wasn’t 100% Sunday AM but went to church anyway. Grilled chicken and salad for lunch. PB&J for supper. Took it easy. Watched GT beat Belmont. Also C’s favorite movie: Two Weeks’ Notice. Then “Tootsie.” M arrived just after the climactic scene. Had he been there I would’ve had him watch it.