For better or worse, anyone who is a member of the New England Patriots knows the best players will play, period. Performance, not draft position or past performance, is all that matters. Even at quarterback.
Tom Brady has been around Bill Belichick for more than a decade, and he doesn't sound threatened that the team took quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round, the highest New England has drafted a quarterback since Brady took over as the team's starter. He doesn't sound surprised either.
Brady, who will turn 37 before the season starts, might not have too many years left, but he's not going to get worked up about having a highly drafted quarterback behind him.
“I had a pretty good idea we’d take a quarterback,” Brady said, according to Peter King's column on MMQB.com. “Coach Belichick doesn’t care who the quarterback is here. He’s always going to play the guy who he thinks gives him the best chance to win. It’s not my role to choose players here, thankfully. And this is not the first time they’ve taken another quarterback either. There’s no entitlement in the NFL. I don’t expect to be given anything. I just hope I’m the one most entitled to play that position for a long time here.”
Not every quarterback reacts that way. John Elway famously wasn't happy when the Broncos drafted Tommy Maddox in the first round of the 1992 draft (and Elway was right; it was the wrong pick). Brett Favre made it clear as Aaron Rodgers waited behind him in Green Bay that he had no interest in mentoring Rodgers. The 49ers didn't draft Steve Young, but he and Joe Montana had an icy relationship during their time as teammates.
Brady really doesn't seem to mind that the Patriots' quarterback of the future is on the roster. Maybe it's because he wasn't given anything, as a sixth-round pick. Mostly he seems to understand that as long as he keeps playing well he has nothing to worry about. He took over the job from Drew Bledsoe, a former first overall pick in New England, because he was the better option at that time. So Brady understands he isn't promised anything based on past results. He just plans to keep playing so well that Garoppolo will have to sit for a long time.
"It’s hard to explain this to people, but the commitment I make, in terms of keeping my body in shape and my nutrition right, should make me healthy," Brady told MMQB.com. "I feel better today than when I was 25, and I know that’s hard for people to believe, but I do."
The Patriots took Garoppolo with the thought that he will likely take over for Brady someday. Brady knows that his play will determine when that "someday" is. He's fine with that plan. That's how he got his job in the first place.
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