Tom Brady fell on his lineman Nate Solder and stayed down. A collective gasp fell over the field as the New England Patriots‘ franchise quarterback writhed around gripping his knee before taking a few more snaps. Brady then walked off the field under his own power.
The Patriots were scrimmaging against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a joint practice when the injury occurred. Adrian Clayborn, defensive lineman for the Bucs, told reporters he did as he normally would in that kind of drill. “You always have to stay away from the quarterback, but, if you have a guy on his heels, my instinct is to keep going,’’ Clayborn told the media.
Solder told reporters he wasn’t exactly sure what happened. “We’re always working to protect … I’ll have to see what happened on the film. I screwed some things up here and there.” Ryan Mallett then took snaps with the first-team offense before giving way to third-stringer Tim Tebow.
The way reporters were hounding Adrian afterwards, you would have thought he did something wrong. “Is this an interview or an interrogation?’’ Clayborn snapped as he was hit with numerous questions from the Boston media. And good for him, Clayborn did as he normally does. Of course you never hit the quarterback in this situation, but the pass rusher was just doing his job as Solder fell back and tripped into Brady.
Big deal. Brady was listed as probable with a knee sprain for their next preseason game.
But when ‘terrific’ Tommy is the victim in question, things are bound to be blown out of proportion. And it really was, as Brady’s ‘injury’ will most likely raise debate on whether joint practices should be allowed in the first place.
This could have happened to Josh Freeman. This could have happened to Brady even if the Bucs stayed in Tampa. The point is that this could have happened to anyone, whether Brady was facing the Patriots’ first-team defense or the Buccaneers’ first-team defense is no matter.
These joint practices are vital for rookies and veterans nursing injuries as they are normally scripted and allows the players to get ‘live-action’ experience in training camp. The joint practices are good and no one wants to see anyone hurt, but to place the blame on joint practices is absurd.
If Tom Brady didn’t tear anything, what’s the big deal?