Still adept at throwing footballs (and tossing tablets) at age 45, Tom Brady apparently has reached the age where honing his craft is no longer as important to him as it once was. As first reported by Ian Rapoport, Brady will be getting a weekly rest day every Wednesday of the season for the first time in his historic NFL career.
“At times over the past two years, Brady has taken off some Thursdays during the season. But not every one,” per Rapoport. “While Brady receives a personal day and mental reps, backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert will take the reps on first- and second-down day. Considering Brady’s extensive career snaps, the belief is he’ll be fine without the full allotment during a practice week.”
“For most players, it’s important,” Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles said regarding practice time. “But I think when you play in the league a certain amount of time and you prepare a certain way, it’s not necessary to practice that guy all the time. You’re going to practice, but you’re not going to practice all the time. You’ll get a day off here and there because it is a long season.”
Given how experienced Brady is at this point in his career, he probably doesn’t need as much practice time as he once did. But, given how resistant he has been to surrendering reps throughout his career no matter the situation, it is fairly telling that he’s willing to cede snaps to Gabbert whether they come in practice or not. Brady’s willingness to miss weekly practice also contradicts statements he made about load management in the NBA while speaking to Jim Gray on the Let’s Go! podcast. Brady, who hasn’t missed a start due to injury since 2008, said he doesn’t understand NBA superstars taking time off when they are completely healthy…aka load management.
“I don’t know why you’d be healthy and not play. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” Brady said. “I feel like so much of what I’ve learned about my body is, working hard is very important. Your ability to recover is very important. We don’t have the option to not play football if you cannot play. But if you’re healthy, you play. There’s too many guys not healthy that you, it’s hard to look your teammates in the eye and go, ‘Wow, they’re not healthy and playing and I’m healthy and I’m not playing.’ That would make no sense.”
To be fair, missing practice and missing games, as Allen Iverson once memorably pointed out, are completely different things and Brady’s track record of taking the field on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and sometimes even Saturdays is impeccable. When his number is called, No. 12 shows up and that doesn’t seem likely to change. What is far more uncertain is what sort of mood Brady is going to be in when the lights go on as it is becoming increasingly obvious that something is sticking in his craw. That something may simply be playing NFL football and having to put up with trash talk from players like New Orleans cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
That skirmish came as the Bucs beat the Saints on Sunday…three days ahead of Brady’s scheduled day off on Wednesday.