Brady: Feelings hurt but moving on

PHOENIX -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady acknowledged strong personal feelings about the NFL's investigation into the team's footballs but said he's putting those to the side leading up to Super Bowl XLIX.

"I personalized a lot of things and thought this was all about me and my feelings got hurt, and then I moved past it because it's not serving me," Brady said Monday morning during his weekly appearance on sports radio WEEI's "Dennis & Callahan" program.

"I think what's serving me is to try to prepare for the game ahead, and I'll deal with whatever happens later. I'll have my opportunity to try to figure out what happened and figure out a theory like everyone else is trying to do. But this isn't the time for that, and honestly I'm not interested in trying to find out right now because we have the biggest game of our season ahead."

In an interview with ESPN during halftime of Sunday's Pro Bowl broadcast, Brady said that he hasn't yet spoken to NFL investigators regarding the allegations of the Patriots using underinflated footballs in the first half of the AFC Championship Game, and he expects to speak to investigators after the season ends.

"No, no. I believe they're going to do after the season, so we'll deal with it after this game," Brady said when asked by ESPN's Chris Berman whether he had been contacted about the underinflated footballs.

"I think everybody's locked in, ready to go for this Super Bowl. It's a great opportunity for us, you know, and our guys have worked really hard, so hopefully we can go out there and play our best on Sunday."

"Absolutely not. No, I didn't. And I haven't. And I never will. I think that's obviously how I feel and the kind of person that I am."
Tom Brady, Patriots QB, when asked if he's ever had any team personnel deflate footballs after pregame inspection.

Upon arrival in Phoenix later on Monday, Brady touched on how it was a special day for the team, starting with a rally in Boston. In a moment of personal reflection during his opening news conference at Super Bowl XLIX, Brady shook his head, looked down to the ground, and considered his good fortune.

"To have an opportunity to play in this game is really unbelievable. I never thought I'd have the experience to play in one of these. To think it's my sixth time is, I can't imagine," he said.

Over the past week, Brady said he "tried to wrap my head around it" and continued to "try to rehash things."

While saying on the radio interview that he prefers to no longer talk about the NFL's ongoing investigation, Brady did answer one question about whether he's ever told an equipment manager or ball boy to deflate the football after the officials' pregame inspection.

"Absolutely not," he said. "No, I didn't. And I haven't. And I never will. I think that's obviously how I feel and the kind of person that I am.

"No one knows the facts," he continued. "I pick 24 balls, that's what I pick. Whatever happened after I did it, and whatever the situation was where they measured them, I have no idea any of those facts. So I try to stay really humble and deal with the facts that I know. When you don't know something, that's all you can say is, 'I don't know.' I know that's not always the answer that people want to hear, but that's the reality."

Brady was asked by Berman during halftime of ESPN's broadcast of the Pro Bowl whether the investigation has affected the team's preparation in any way.

"I certainly hope not. I think we're a pretty mentally tough team, and I think we've dealt with other things in the past," Brady said. "I think Coach [Bill Belichick] has always said 'ignore the noise' and we have to focus on the task at hand, which is a great Seahawks team. I'm excited to play in another Super Bowl. You don't get many of these opportunities in your life. ... We finished our last practice [Sunday] here in Foxborough, and we head out [Monday] to Phoenix, so it will be good to get there and get into the week. I think we feel good about where we're at."

Reaction to Brady has been negative in some media circles.

"Everybody is entitled to their opinion," Brady said on WEEI, when asked if he's learned this week about who his friends truly are. "Everyone will say, 'God, it's been a tough week for you.' But it's been a great week for me, to really be able to recalibrate the things that are important in my life and understand the people that support me, and love me, and care about me. I think that's been the best thing to come out of this week.

"It's all part of the business and you deal with the ups and the downs, the good and the bad, and I'm excited to play in the Super Bowl for the sixth time. It's a pretty amazing accomplishment for our team based on where we started. That's where I'm at; I'm in a great place. We've had a great week in practice. We're going to go down and try to finish strong."