For the duration of the 2020 campaign, Brady was dealing with a knee injury that he didn't attend to until after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Super Bowl trophy had been hoisted and all the confetti had fallen.
Already having taken part in minicamp drills and activities this week, Brady is pleased with the progress of his knee and focused on preparation for the season following the surgery to deal with an ailment that took up a great deal of his time a year ago.
"From this point to the beginning of the season, to the beginning of training camp, I really feel like I can really work hard at football improvement as opposed to getting back to a rehab, you know, place where you're more baseline," Brady told reporters during a Wednesday news conference. "It was an injury I dealt with really since last April, May. I knew I'd have to do something at the end of the year, and happy I did it. It was probably something that certainly needed to be done and there was a great outcome, so I'm very happy about that. I feel I'll be able to do some different things this year than I was able to do last year."
Amazing and historic as it is that the 43-year-old Brady captained the Bucs to a Lombardi trophy and won a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player in his first season with the club, the realization that Brady's knee injury was more substantial than previously thought adds a touch more stupefaction.
Though Brady continues to defy the effects of the calendar, it was an "old school" approach that he credits for walking tall through a season despite a bum knee. Now, however, all is well and the focus is ahead.
"I feel really good. Every player deals with different things. I never like to talk about injuries. I'm just a little bit old school in that way in that you deal with them and then you just make the most of them," Brady said. "The good part is I'll be able to commit a lot of time to other parts. I'm sure I'll be faced with different adversities this year, but I had to spend a lot of time tending to that particular injury, which happens when you have something that you ultimately need to have surgery on to get fixed. So I had my knee surgery, and that was about 15 weeks ago today. Really happy with my rehab process, and it's been great communication. Alex [Guerrero] and I worked really hard to try to get back to full speed, to get what I need to do to begin to improve. It's been a good process of learning, and I feel like I'm there now."
While Brady was going under the knife roughly 15 weeks ago, where he is now is in minicamp and lending the wisdom to his teammates about dealing with the season after the Super Bowl.
As the Bucs' mantra has been about running it back and they've followed suit by bringing back all 22 Super Bowl starters, Brady points out nothing is the same from last season to the upcoming one even with a matching roster.
A winner of seven Super Bowls and the catalyst of a New England Patriots team that was the last to win back-to-back Super Bowls (in the 2003 and 2004 seasons), Brady opened Wednesday's presser with a rather poignant exploration of how different things will be for the 2021 Buccaneers. Above all he stressed that he and his teammates couldn't fall into the assumption that a plan would fall into place this year just the same as it did the last.
"I think the assumption comes from the belief that it'll just be exactly like it was last year. I think that's what you gotta not fall into is that, 'Oh this is the way it worked last year, so this is the way it'll be this year.' The reality is everything's different," Brady said. "The teams will approach you a little bit differently. You're kinda the team everyone's watching now. There's different degrees of expectation. There's more external noise. There'll be more people wanting to come to games. More opportunity to do things outside of football. And I think the reality is you have to stay focused on what's really important. How do you improve? How do you get better from week-to-week, day-to-day? Improve your routine. Improve your communication with your teammates, with your coaches. Not allow your mind to really fall into this position that you make this assumption that just because you did something in February that you'll do it again next February. 'Cause that's not the reality of football."
The reality for Brady is he's on the path to recovery and putting his best foot -- and knee -- forward in leading the Bucs to back-to-back acclaim. By his account, his knee is a lot better than it was previously and so too is his grasp of the Bucs offense, portending to another efficacious campaign it would seem -- though it is still just June.
"I just think back to where I was a year ago at this time, it was a very different situation in terms of what I knew -- the knowledge of the offense. And I think starting at a place like I'm at now allows me a better grasp of things," Brady said. "We're starting at a good place. We just have to build on it."