FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Barring an unexpected change today, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will not be heard from at the team's mandatory minicamp, which is a break from the norm.
Brady seems to be choosing his words carefully these days, as well as where he says them, which might be tied to the delicate balance he must strike in three areas:
1. His standing as a Patriots team leader.
2. His personal situation entering the final year of his contract for the first time in his NFL career.
3. His position as an assistant player representative at a time when labor talks are intensifying.
With Brady electing not to speak with reporters over the last three weeks of organized team activities at Gillette Stadium, it almost makes his statement through the NFL Players Association on Wednesday -- in which he shared his thoughts on a possible 18-game season -- come across even louder.
"I've taken part in several postseason runs where we have played 20 games," Brady said in the statement. "The long-term impact this game has on our bodies is well-documented. Look no further than the players that came before we did. Each player today has to play three years in order to earn five years of post-career health care."
It is notable that a player of Brady's caliber is willing to take such a stand. At the same time, I don't think Brady's statement has anything to do with his own contract situation. I also think part of the reason that Brady might have elected to pass on interviews over the last three weeks is that he doesn't want to talk about his contract situation.
As the quarterback and leader of the team, Brady's decision-making extends beyond which player he throws the ball to on the field. That seems to be reflected in how he's approached his offseason interviews.