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Brady addresses media, focuses on season opener

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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addressed the media Sunday for the first time since his four-game suspension was vacated last week by a federal court judge.

“I love football, I love the sport, and I love playing in the NFL,” Brady told reporters in front of his locker before practice. “To get the opportunity to do it and — certainly with all of my teammates and my friends. I’ve had so much support with my family that’s — through all this. For the last 20 years, I’ve been playing football this time of year, and it feels good to be doing that again.”

Taking questions from reporters for the first time since since his post-Super Bowl news conference on Feb. 2 for winning the MVP, Brady said he wants to just focus on football.

“I’m excited to run out there Thursday night,” Brady said. “It’s obviously been a long seven months for everybody. I think now the goal is focus on what my job is and that’s go out there and help our team win. Everything that’s happened over the past seven months, obviously I have a lot of personal feelings.

“I really don’t care to share many of those. I need to think about what I need to do moving forward. A lot of guys in this locker room have worked really hard to get to this point, and so have I. I’m excited to be able to go out there and do it.”

Brady’s four-game suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was nullified by U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman last Thursday.

The action in federal court cleared Brady and his starting job with the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots when they open the regular season against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.

“I take it very seriously, and you guys know I haven’t missed many games in my career, except for the season where I tore my ACL,” Brady said. “I’ll be excited. Still a lot of preparation in between now and then, facing a really good team. All of my energy and attention needs to be there. That’s where it’s been the last couple of days.”

Brady expressed empathy for equipment assistant John Jastremski and officials locker room attendant Jim McNally because of the investigation.

The Patriots suspended Jastremski and McNally during the NFL’s investigation. Team sources told ESPN that the club was informed by league officials that if it didn’t suspend Jastremski and McNally, the NFL would do so. Jastremski and McNally are banned from working for the Patriots until they are cleared by the NFL.

“It’s been a very tough situation for everybody. It’s put a lot of stress on everybody’s families,” Brady said. “I feel bad that anybody is in the position that we’ve been put in. Hopefully we can just keep learning from life’s experiences, and I certainly feel terrible for them that they’re not able to be with us right now.”

Brady didn’t reveal if he has been in contact with Jastremski or McNally, saying “those are personal things.”

An appeal was filed by the NFL to preserve the commissioner’s heirarchy as defined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. However, the league will not seek a stay of the decision to keep Brady suspended during the process.

“That’s their choice, and I think that’s part of this process,” Brady said. “My part is to get ready to play football, and that’s what I’m really excited to do.”

The Patriots plan to unveil a fourth Super Bowl banner before Thursday night’s game.

“Yeah, it’s going to be very exciting, it hasn’t happened in a long time, and I think our guys are excited,” Brady said. “Mostly, we have to focus on what our job is, and that’s to put that celebration behind us and move forward to a new year. It’s different challenges, different team, different schedule. Any time you’re in a situation like we’re in, you know you have to get everybody’s best.”


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