FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady was soft-spoken and thoughtful Thursday as he met with about 50 media members.
Given the circumstances surrounding the New England Patriots this summer, clearly, this wasn't your typical training camp quarterback interview.
In the wake of former tight end Aaron Hernandez's arrest on a murder charge, and a day after his coach, Bill Belichick, addressed the matter, Brady said Thursday the Patriots must work hard to "re-establish what we're all about."
"It's been a challenging offseason," he said as New England opened camp. "But we're going to try to move forward as best we know how."
Brady talked at length for the first time since Hernandez's name surfaced in connection with the shooting death of Boston semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd on June 17. Hernandez was arrested on June 26 and cut by the Patriots before he was charged that afternoon. He is being held without bail after pleading not guilty.
"Certainly, it's a very tragic thing that happened and someone loses their life," Brady said during a 17-minute session on the team's practice field, "but all those things were out of the players' control here. We're not really a part of that situation."
He declined to answer several questions, saying he had been advised not to. They included whether he had spoken with Hernandez or whether Hernandez had apologized to him after the tight end was linked to the investigation.
During Hernandez's three seasons since being drafted by the Patriots, he was one of Brady's top receivers.
Asked if he thought he knew Hernandez, Brady said, "the relationship that you have as a football player, the relationship you have within the walls of (Gillette Stadium) are what they are and then people have their own life."
Might people not know others as well as they think they do?
"I don't know if you quantify those things," Brady said. "How well do you know your kids? You try to do the best you can do, but everyone is ultimately accountable for their own decision making."
Asked if Hernandez had fit in with his former teammates, Brady said, "I don't think any of that really matters to me or matters to anything that's going on with the legal process or anything like that."
And the Hernandez case has been "zero" distraction for him.
"You trust in your other teammates and you trust them to do their job so that you can do your job," Brady said.
Did he trust Hernandez?
"I'm really not supposed to comment on Aaron," he said. "I wish I could."
To start camp, Belichick orchestrated a 22-minute news conference Wednesday as the Patriots try to wipe away the stain Hernandez's arrest brings to their reputation. Belichick displayed unusual patience with questioners and gave more detailed answers than usual.
"It's a terrible thing that happened," Brady said. "There's a very human, compassionate element that we all have and when it's someone that has been on our team, it's a very sad thing. So I think that we, as a team, have tried to move forward with better awareness and understanding of these types of things."
He listed several former teammates — Tedy Bruschi, Kevin Faulk, Troy Brown, Mike Vrabel — who represented the Patriots well on and off the field.
"Everyone who has played here has played a part of what the New England Patriots are all about," said Brady, wearing a dark blue sweatshirt with the words, "PATRIOTS ESTABLISHED IN 1960" on the front. "We realize that in light of the recent situation that probably those things get overshadowed and we've got to work hard to kind of re-establish what we're all about.
"And that's, like we said, to win games and to be the best representatives of this team and organization and representatives for this city that we can possibly be."
Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork also spoke Thursday but didn't mention Hernandez's name. The Patriots, who lost the AFC championship game last year to the Baltimore Ravens, will be tested, he said.
"You're dealing with a real-life situation, so it's easy to get caught up in the media or speculations. We're not here for that," Wilfork said. "I feel bad for the victim's family, but we have to move forward as a football team. That's sad to say, but that's reality."
It's important, he said, to keep off-field issues separate from players' jobs on the field.
"It's going to test this team's chemistry. It's going to test everyone that's in this locker room," Wilfork said. "It's going to test to see how important football is to us. As a family, you just have to take it day-by-day, move forward day-by-day. At the end of the day, the ball is going to continue to roll and the last thing we want to do is be stuck behind the ball."
On Wednesday, a probable cause hearing for Hernandez was rescheduled for Aug. 22 to give prosecutors more time to present evidence to a grand jury.
Might Wilfork be distracted from football if he's called before a grand jury?
"What can I do," he asked. "The only thing I can do is control what I can control and that's playing football. Whatever happens in the future, happens. We'll handle it then."
For now, the primary focus is on football with the start of training camp and the season opener less than seven weeks away on Sept. 8 at Buffalo.
"The fate of our season is going to be determined by the guys in the locker room," Brady said, "and, hopefully, nothing else."
|Chicago||11/27/14 11:30 AM|
|Philadelphia||11/27/14 3:30 PM|
|Seattle||11/27/14 7:30 PM|
|Cleveland||11/30/14 12:00 PM|
|Washington||11/30/14 12:00 PM|
|Tennessee||11/30/14 12:00 PM|
|San Diego||11/30/14 12:00 PM|
|NY Giants||11/30/14 12:00 PM|
|Cincinnati||11/30/14 12:00 PM|
|Oakland||11/30/14 12:00 PM|
|New Orleans||11/30/14 12:00 PM|
|Carolina||11/30/14 12:00 PM|
|Arizona||11/30/14 3:05 PM|
|New England||11/30/14 3:25 PM|
|Denver||11/30/14 7:30 PM|
|Miami||12/1/14 7:30 PM|
|Golden State||82||3rd Qtr 4:35|
|Brooklyn||70||3rd Qtr 1:01|
|Portland||74||3rd Qtr 2:42|
|Washington||55||3rd Qtr 5:57|
|LA Clippers||48||2nd Qtr 0:00|
|New York||42||2nd Qtr 0:14|
|Toronto||64||2nd Qtr 0:13|
|Milwaukee||28||2nd Qtr 10:39|
|Utah||29||2nd Qtr 10:31|
|Philadelphia||1||2nd Prd 17:29|
|NY Rangers||2||2nd Prd 16:10|
|Carolina||0||2nd Prd 13:53|
|Toronto||0||2nd Prd 17:47|
|Los Angeles||2||1st Prd 3:11|
|Wisconsin||58||2nd Half 7:38|
|Davidson||86||2nd Half 7:18|
|Albany||60||2nd Half 2:57|
|Longwood||41||2nd Half 11:03|
|Delaware State||63||2nd Half 7:01|
|Trinity Baptist||53||2nd Half 4:16|
|Cleveland State||29||2nd Half 6:53|
|St Johns||51||2nd Half 9:51|
|PSU-Harrisburg||40||2nd Half 4:39|
|Richmond||63||2nd Half 7:24|
|Grambling St||52||2nd Half 2:28|
|Georgia State||76||2nd Half 4:19|
|Campbell||54||2nd Half 6:42|
|Goucher||36||2nd Half 7:15|
|Bryant||31||2nd Half 5:39|
|Miami-Ohio||35||2nd Half 11:45|
|Mount St Marys||28||2nd Half 9:00|
|Lafayette||50||2nd Half 9:33|
|UMKC||50||2nd Half 7:49|
|Canisius||34||2nd Half 15:48|
|Va Military||35||2nd Half|
|Lehigh||31||1st Half 5:54|
|UC Riverside||25||1st Half 5:44|
|Morehead State||32||1st Half 6:00|
|Miss Valley St||25||1st Half 6:00|
|UNC-Asheville||25||1st Half 4:16|
|Tenn Tech||39||1st Half 2:56|
|Texas Southern||15||1st Half 4:54|
|Radford||18||1st Half 5:12|
|TX-Pan American||19||1st Half 5:57|
|Wayne St-NE||22||1st Half 5:28|
|Kansas State||20||1st Half 5:25|
|Northern Ill||6||1st Half 16:47|
|Fla Gulf Coast||7:30 PM|
|Carroll (MT)||8:00 PM|
|Florida A&M||8:00 PM|
|New Mexico St|
|Eastern Ky||8:00 PM|
|Northern Ky||8:05 PM|
|Utah Valley U||8:05 PM|
|Cal Poly||9:00 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Utah State||9:00 PM|
|Alabama State||9:30 PM|
|Portland State||10:00 PM|
|Missouri State||11/27/14 1:00 AM|
|LSU||11/27/14 6:30 PM|
|(6) TCU||11/27/14 6:30 PM|
|Northern Ill||11/28/14 10:00 AM|
|Nebraska||11/28/14 11:00 AM|
|Western Ky||11/28/14 11:00 AM|
|UCF||11/28/14 11:00 AM|
|Houston||11/28/14 11:00 AM|
|Akron||11/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Ball State||11/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Buffalo||11/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Toledo||11/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Arkansas||11/28/14 1:30 PM|
|Navy||11/28/14 2:00 PM|
|(13) Arizona State||11/28/14 2:30 PM|
|Stanford||11/28/14 2:30 PM|
|(21) Colorado State||11/28/14 2:30 PM|
|Virginia||11/28/14 7:00 PM|
|East Carolina||11/28/14 7:30 PM|
|North Texas||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
|Old Dominion||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
|(16) Georgia Tech||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
|Kentucky||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
|So Carolina||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
|West Virginia||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
|Rice||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
|Michigan||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
|(7) Ohio State|
|Purdue||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
|Illinois||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
|Cincinnati||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
|NC State||11/29/14 11:30 AM|
|Syracuse||11/29/14 11:30 AM|
|Louisiana||11/29/14 11:30 AM|
|Utah||11/29/14 12:00 PM|
|Texas State||11/29/14 1:00 PM|
|Idaho||11/29/14 1:00 PM|
|Wyoming||11/29/14 2:00 PM|
|New Mexico St||11/29/14 2:00 PM|
|UAB||11/29/14 2:30 PM|
|(4) Miss State||11/29/14 2:30 PM|
|(18) Ole Miss|
|Notre Dame||11/29/14 2:30 PM|
|(10) Michigan State||11/29/14 2:30 PM|
|(22) Minnesota||11/29/14 2:30 PM|
|(5) Baylor||11/29/14 2:30 PM|
|Florida||11/29/14 2:30 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|Rutgers||11/29/14 2:30 PM|
|San Jose St||11/29/14 2:30 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Tennessee||11/29/14 3:00 PM|
|Kansas||11/29/14 3:00 PM|
|(11) Kansas State|
|Connecticut||11/29/14 3:00 PM|
|BYU||11/29/14 3:30 PM|
|ULM||11/29/14 5:00 PM|
|Middle Tennessee||11/29/14 6:00 PM|
|Hawaii||11/29/14 6:00 PM|
|Wake Forest||11/29/14 6:00 PM|
|Pittsburgh||11/29/14 6:00 PM|
|(15) Auburn||11/29/14 6:45 PM|
|(3) Oregon||11/29/14 7:00 PM|
|Utah State||11/29/14 9:15 PM|
|(25) Boise State|
|Washington||11/29/14 9:30 PM|
|Nevada||11/29/14 9:30 PM|
|Hamilton||11/30/14 5:00 PM|
|East Tenn St||69||FINAL|
|Evansville||37||2nd Half 7:23|
|(22) West Virginia||66|
|(4) Tennessee||53||2nd Half 6:07|
|Delaware State||60||2nd Half 0:33|
|Mount St Marys||68|
|Bradley||58||2nd Half 3:51|
|Providence||49||2nd Half 4:47|
|Albany||47||2nd Half 5:13|
|VA Commonwealth||40||2nd Half 4:44|
|William & Mary||44|
|Alabama A&M||38||2nd Half 7:37|
|Colgate||28||2nd Half 4:19|
|Memphis||64||2nd Half 2:59|
|Oakland||27||2nd Half 20:00|
|(16) Michigan State||41|
|Utah Valley U||24||2nd Half|
|Butler||26||1st Half 0:32|
|TX-Pan American||8||1st Half 7:33|
|McNeese State||12||1st Half 6:12|
|(7) Texas A&M||35|
|Milwaukee||34||1st Half 4:57|
|Northern Ariz||22||1st Half 5:51|
|Jackson State||11||1st Half 11:04|
|Indiana State||34||1st Half 3:08|
|Long Beach St||8:00 PM|
|Fresno Pacific||9:00 PM|
|Aug 8 - vs. Oakland||7 pm||X||10-6|
|Aug 16 - vs. Arizona||7:30 pm||X||30-28|
|Aug 23 - at Kansas City||7 pm||X||30-12|
|Aug 28 - at Tennessee||7 pm||X||19-3|
|2014 regular season|
|Sep 7 - at St. Louis||Noon||X||34-6|
|Sep 14 - vs. New England||Noon||X||30-7|
|Sep 21 - at New Orleans||Noon||X||20-9|
|Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta||3:25 pm||X||41-28|
|Oct 2 - at Green Bay||7:25 pm||X||42-10|
|Oct 12 - vs. Detroit||Noon||X||17-3|
|Oct 19 - at. Buffalo||Noon||X||17-16|
|Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay||Noon||X||19-13 ot|
|Nov 2 - vs. Washington||Noon||X||29-26|
|Nov 9 - Bye|
|Nov 16 - at Chicago||Noon||X||21-13|
|Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay||Noon||X||24-21|
|Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina||Noon|
|Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets||Noon|
|Dec 14 - at Detroit||Noon|
|Dec 21 - at Miami||Noon|
|Dec 28 - vs. Chicago||Noon|