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Super Bowl LII: Resilient Tom Brady overcomes series of distractions

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady arrives for

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady arrives for Super Bowl LII on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, in Minneapolis. Credit: AP / Eric Gay

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Tom Brady understands that distractions are part of life. And when you’re a professional athlete as famous as he is, something is going to occur at some point.

Before Brady left the Boston area Monday morning for Super Bowl LII, he cut off an interview on radio station WEEI, upset that one of its hosts recently made a disparaging remark about his 5-year-old daughter, Vivian. Brady, who does a weekly paid segment on WEEI, hinted he may not continue doing it.

“I just thought it was not very appropriate,” Brady said at Super Bowl Opening Night.

It was just another issue Brady had to deal with in an eventful year away from the field. Everything started last May when Brady’s wife, Gisele Bündchen, told CBS This Morning that her husband suffered concussions during the 2016 season.

“I mean, he has concussions pretty much,” she told CBS. “We don’t talk about it, but he does have concussions.”

Brady downplayed Bündchen’s comments, saying he didn’t want to speak about his health. The league also cleared the Patriots of any wrongdoing.

Drama seemed to follow Brady again in December, when ESPN reported he went behind Bill Belichick’s back and requested that the Patriots trade backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The trade, which took place in October, was stunning, considering the Patriots received only a second-round pick from the 49ers.

The story spoke of a simmering feud between Brady and Belichick, with team owner Robert Kraft taking Brady’s side. Belichick, according to the story, removed Brady’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero, from the sideline and limited his access in the team facility. Team officials said the issues were unfounded and that everyone was together.

“He’s been a great friend of mine,” Brady said of Guerrero on Monday. “He just taught me so much over the years of how to take care of my body and keep it really operating at its very best. It’s been a lot of fun, a great journey, and I wanted to teach people a lot of things that I’ve learned as a professional athlete.

“I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms and I’ve watched a lot of people do the wrong stuff, in my belief. When I’m done playing, I’d like to continue to try to keep educating people on the things that really worked for me, and hopefully it can help increase their longevity for whatever career they might like.”

Even the playoffs couldn’t go quietly for Brady. He suffered a cut thumb on his throwing hand in a collision on a handoff to Rex Burkhead four days before the AFC Championship Game against the Jaguars. Brady wore red gloves during practices and didn’t want to say what happened to him. In the game, black tape covered the stitches on the lower part of his thumb. He played well, throwing two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to overcome a 20-10 deficit.

On Monday night, Brady acted as if the season’s distractions didn’t affect him. He met with reporters while wearing black gloves on both hands. He autographed his cookbook for ABC’s Guillermo Rodriguez of the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show. Brady even tried on a stylish fedora from comedian J.B. Smoove.

Brady was in a playful mood. When Rodriguez said Brady’s wife was sexy, Brady smiled and said, “She’s pretty sexy.”

Speaking of distractions, Brady said: “I just think it’s part of being a professional. Really focusing on what my job is, and I know as a professional you’re living in a very non-private life. So I understand it and that’s part of it. So I’m just trying to be a professional and focus on what my job is and do the best job that I can do, but I understand other things come along with that.”

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