I wanted to relay a story from behind the scenes that I think ties in nicely to Wednesday's developments with Tom Brady being sent home with an illness and not practicing.
Prior to the Patriots-Broncos game on Nov. 24, on a very cold night, I noticed Brady come on to the field in the pregame and spend a little time watching Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard go through a workout in front of the medical staff, as they were game-time decisions. It caught my eye because it was out of the norm for Brady to be on the field at that time.
A few weeks later, Dec. 15 in Miami, I noticed Brady come on to the field in the pregame, wearing shorts and a winter hat. He sat on the bench for some time, gathering his thoughts. Again, this was out of the norm for him as he seldom comes out before the game.
These are the types of things you notice when following a team so closely, so a few weeks later, I approached Brady in the locker room to ask him about it. His response was that both of the games were played in more extreme conditions -- very cold against Denver and very warm and humid in Miami -- and he wanted to just get a feel for it beforehand. When I said, "OK, that's all it was. Just a minor thing", his response was quick. "Everything matters," he said.
That was what stood out to me Wednesday with news that Brady wasn't practicing. It's not the biggest deal, and it's important to keep that context. But it also shouldn't just be swept under the locker-room rug. Brady loves to practice. So this is a story line we'll follow (Brady is back, practicing this morning, and scheduled to speak with reporters) this week to see if it has any impact on preparations or outcome.