New England quarterback Tom Brady says he feels great.
He just doesn’t look great. Sometimes.
While there doesn’t appear to be reason to panic in New England, Father Time may be tapping Brady on the shoulder. Or, in this case, the elbow.
Brady is poised to lead the Patriots to their third consecutive AFC title and is positioned for a third consecutive win Sunday in Philadelphia. He also is coming off blow-out wins against the Jets and Chiefs.
Still, there is an inkling that, just as with Peyton Manning, there may be a crack in the veneer of one of this generation’s greatest quarterbacks.
While the club hasn’t admitted Brady has any physical issues, suspicion is he has a bone bruise near his elbow.
This comes with Brady already wearing a black band near his throwing elbow, something often associated with tendinitis.
“I feel great,” Brady told reporters this week. “I’ll be out there on Sunday as I am always, unless they tell me I can’t be. I’m ready to try to play my best football.”
His best is still very good but he’s had slow starts the last three games, including completing 8-of-16 passes for 133 yards in a first half against K.C.
What has added concerns is that Tom Martinez, Brady’s throwing coach, recently told the Boston Herald that the quarterback, who will be 35 on his next birthday, is playing with some pain that is “affecting his throws.”
Brady has been erratic early in games since taking a hit Oct. 16, against Dallas. “I think it does take him a while to get warmed up. He’s kind of holding back a little bit on some of the throws,” Martinez told the newspaper. “It’s like sticking your hand in hot water. You know you’ve got to do it. You don’t want to do it. You stay away from it as long as you can, but you know you need to. Sooner or later, you’ve got to stick it in there. You know it’s going to hurt. You know it’s too hot. And yet you’ve got to do it if you want to win. I think that’s a good analogy of where he is.”
Add one more scene to the Eagles’ nightmare season. This time it features cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who was carted off the field at practice Thursday after injuring his left knee.
The club didn’t comment further on the severity of the injury although teammate Joselio Hanson indicated the injury wasn’t serious. “It looked bad, but they said he was going to be alright.”
He better be more than just all right or the Eagles’ secondary, which is already without Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, looks ripe for the plundering Sunday by Brady. Rodgers-Cromartie suffered a high ankle sprain and hasn’t practised this week.
THE WIZARD OF ODD
Not sure what Albert Haynesworth’s hobbies involved when he was a kid, but pulling the wings off flies might be a good guess.
Haynesworth has three times knocked Texans’ Matt Schaub out of action. On his hit two weeks ago that sidelined Schaub for the season, Sweet Al noted: “It was on the goal-line. He actually screamed like normal in the pile.”
The guy has about as much heart as the Tinman before finding Oz, and he might come a close second to the Scarecrow in smarts.
A cautionary sign to the high-rollers who believe acquiring an NFL team in Toronto is akin to buying the golden goose. The Bucs have had trouble filling their 65,000-seat stadium since 2009. Now comes word the team will cut prices for 80% of the seats at Raymond James Stadium in 2012.
Several other cities also have failed to sell out lately. Cincinnati, San Diego, Oakland, Jacksonville and Miami have often not sold enough seats to get TV blackouts lifted.
Tyler Palko is expected to start ahead of newly-acquired Kyle Orton for the Kansas City Chiefs ... Bengals’ Andy Dalton (right shoulder), receiver A.J. Green (knee) and Cardinals’ quarterback Kevin Kolb (turf toe) practised on a limited basis ... After a life-threatening car crash 18 months ago, 2010 Giants’ third-round draft Chad Jones, a New Orleans native, will be on the sideline with his New York teammates when they play Monday in New Orleans. “It might even bring tears to my eyes being on that field, especially in front of the fans in New Orleans. It’s definitely going to be a great feeling,” said Jones, who hopes to return to the NFL next season ... The Raiders are hurting with receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (neck), running back Taiwan Jones (hamstring), running back Darren McFadden (foot), receiver Denarius Moore (foot), and defensive tackle Richard Seymour (knee) missing practice ... For the Jets, running back LaDainian Tomlinson still isn’t practising, 10 days after Pats’ receiver/cornerback Julian Edelman hit him near the knees ... Texans Andre Johnson is on track to start in Jacksonville ... Titans defensive end William Hayes was fined $15,000 for a hit on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
MOSS SEES THE LIGHT
Randy Moss has found humility, humanity, family and religion.
Moss always combined an unquestionable talent with a very questionable makeup: self-centred, egocentric, self-promoting, bordering on a disinterest for teammates and disdain for fans.
“Football had me blinded to a lot of things going on in my family,” Moss is quoted as saying this week on ProFootballTalk.com, as he distributed food to the underprivileged in his hometown. “A lot of things didn’t hit me until my life slowed down but now I’m able to kiss my girlfriend in the morning and my daughter. You sacrifice a lot of time as a professional athlete, and you don’t take time to slow down.
“I just gave up football because football is not me; football is what I do,” Moss added. “I’m a loving father, I’m a loving son and I love my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
Right. At this rate he’ll be taking the neighbour’s garbage out, helping little old ladies across the street, and no doubt already has a rousing rendition on his I-Pod of Kum-bah-ya. Randy Moss. Humanitarian of the Year. Who knew?