David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Tom Brady is among the toughest players he’s ever encountered during his four-decade-plus coaching career.
“Tom’s as physically and mentally tough as any player I’ve coached, no doubt about that,” Belichick said Wednesday, via ESPN.
That’s high praise from Belichick, who isn’t one to freely offer up such praiseworthy remarks without truly believing it.
Brady was absent from Tuesday’s portion of practice open to the media. Initial reports indicated the 40-year-old veteran signal-caller was suffering from an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. A subsequent report from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport confirmed as much, stating the injury to be an AC joint sprain in his left shoulder, according to a source.
Belichick declined to specify whether or not Brady would return to Patriots practice on Wednesday but all indications point to the quarterback playing Sunday for the Patriots (3-2) in a road game against the upstart New York Jets (3-2). Belichick suggested the media will have to wait for the injury report the team is set to release Wednesday afternoon.
“We’ll put an injury report out after practice like we always do,” Belichick said.
What has to come as a major source of concern for the Patriots is the amount of pressure Brady has faced so far this season. He’s been hit 33 times and sacked 16 times in five games. Brady may be the toughest player Belichick has ever coached, but if the team can’t do a better job keeping him upright, toughness may end up being a non-issue, especially if injury issues continue to mount.