Brady: This is why we work hard

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady sat down with ESPN’s Mike Tirico on Sunday (video above) to discuss the team’s growing pains, the 7-2 start and playing in the “Monday Night Football” spotlight against the Panthers in Charlotte (8:30 p.m., on ESPN).

When asked how long he saw himself playing beyond this season, Brady reflected on what he values most about the game.

“The important part for me in the offseason and for me during the season, I want to earn the respect of the guys that I play with today,” Brady said. “You don’t want to sit here and have your guys respect you for what you did 10 years ago. Those things aren’t important to me. What’s important is I show up every day to be a leader, to perform at a high level. There’s nothing more I love than to be around the stadium in the offseason, be around those guys running and lifting. That’s where you develop the camaraderie between everybody, that’s where you put the work in. ...

“This is the reason why we work hard, for moments like this, ‘Monday Night football,’ the 11th week of the year, our season’s on the line, we’ve got to go out there and play our best.”

The Patriots find themselves in a familiar position, comfortably ahead of the pack in the AFC East. Still, Brady knows that these final seven regular season games, not the 7-2 start, will determine how far into winter the Patriots will play.

“We’ve battled through some pretty tough games. Hopefully we’re at a point where we’ve learned from our mistakes and can build on things we've done well,” Brady said. “This is when the good teams really start to separate themselves. We’re in decent position, but it all depends on what we do going forward.”