Pat's Brady emerges without boot


Published: Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 3:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 3:59 p.m.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Tom Brady returned. His boot didn't.

Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Randy Moss
Enlarge |
Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Randy Moss

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, and head coach Bill Belichick, right, talk while the team stretches during football practice at Gillette Stadium, in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday afternoon, in this Jan. 17, 2008 file photo. New England Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss (81) is seen in background. Brady walked without a protective boot on his right foot or a noticeable limp in New York on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008. The previous day, video and still photos showed him wearing the boot as he followed his girlfriend, model Gisele Bundchen, into her Manhattan residence.

Stephan Savoia/The Associated Press, file photo

The Patriots quarterback walked with long strides and without a limp in his brown wingtips Sunday as he headed for one of the five buses that would take the team to its flight to Arizona for the Super Bowl a week later.

For the first time since last Sunday, Brady appeared in front of reporters and photographers in Foxborough. At a departure rally shortly before the buses left, he walked without slipping on a light dusting of snow on the Gillette Stadium field as flurries fell.

"Now this is Foxborough faithful right here," Brady told a cheering crowd of about 15,000 after he reached the podium at midfield along the Patriots sideline. "We can just go ahead and play the game today. Thank you guys for coming out."

The face of New England's franchise reportedly has a minor high ankle sprain. He wore a protective boot on his right foot last Monday in New York, causing a major stir and concern among Patriots fans hoping the club would beat the New York Giants in the Super Bowl and become the first team in NFL history to finish 19-0.

After returning to Foxborough on Wednesday from a trip to see supermodel girlfriend Gisele Bundchen, Brady wasn't seen by the media the next two days while they were allowed into the locker room and at practice.

There was no media availability Saturday, and Brady hadn't spoken in public since his news conference right after New England's 21-12 win over the San Diego Chargers in the AFC championship game the previous Sunday.

The NFL MVP made no reference to the boot or the condition of his foot at the rally. Neither did coach Bill Belichick or the other players who addressed the crowd Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi and Junior Seau.

One fan held a sign: BRADY GIVE THE GIANTS THE BOOT.

A young boy had a different message on his poster. "Where is Brady?"

Last Monday, Brady was spotted wearing the boot outside Bundchen's home. Later that day and on Tuesday, he wasn't wearing it when photographed by the paparazzi. Teammates said they expect him to play in the Super Bowl.

As the snow fell, Brady stood at the podium in a gray, pinstriped suit, and a crisp white shirt that was open at the collar. He had no overcoat but kept his hands in his pockets in the subfreezing temperatures while others spoke. Then he made some brief remarks.

"We're going down there for one reason," he said. "That's to bring a title back to Foxborough."

After the rally that lasted about an hour, players boarded the yellow buses lined up outside the stadium with a sign on each: GOOD LUCK PATRIOTS.

Brady waved to the crowd with his left hand and carried a travel bag in his right as he walked beside backup quarterback Matt Cassel. They went about 30 yards from the last bus in line before they boarded the second as fans cheered.

Seymour is looking forward to being greeted by another big crowd when the team returns from the Super Bowl.

"I'm not big on pregame celebrations," he told the crowd. "I'm big on postgame celebrations."

Team owner Robert Kraft is hoping for a special one.

"We hope to come back from Arizona perfect," he said to cheers from the fans, "19-0."

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top