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Old 12-30-2008, 07:48 AM    (permalink
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Default Multiple Reports: Brady Behind Schedule

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By Tom E. Curran
NBCSports.com
updated 10:43 a.m. ET, Sun., Dec. 28, 2008
Tom E. Curran
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
When the New England Patriots' 2008 season ends, quarterback Matt Cassel will be set to become a free agent.

But before Cassel hits the free-agent market, the Patriots will look long and hard at the medical reports of star quarterback Tom Brady. And, according to a league source, those reports will give New England pause.

Brady, who had the ACL and MCL in his left knee ripped in the first quarter of the season’s first game, is well behind schedule in coming back from the surgery performed in early October, the source said.

The problem began with the infection that set in soon after the Oct. 6 surgery performed by Los Angeles-based doctor Neil ElAttrache.

After the infection was detected, Brady went through six weeks of antibiotics and surgical irrigation of the infected area. The infection finally cleared but as it currently stands, both the ACL and MCL remain “loose,” the league source said. Meanwhile, scar tissue that built up in the knee as Brady’s body battled the infection is still present and might need to be surgically removed.

Additionally, because of the scar tissue, Brady’s knee doesn’t have close to full mobility, the league source said. That means the process of regaining strength in his quadriceps — the most important muscle to build up after a knee injury — hasn’t begun in earnest.

Even if Brady gets the scar tissue removed, regains greater mobility in the knee and is able to get the strength back in his quad, the looseness in the ligaments won’t go away without a second surgery, the source said. At this point, deciding to have that second surgery would cost him the 2009 season because a second surgery wouldn’t be recommended this soon after the first, especially with the current condition of the area.

If he doesn’t have a second surgery, he’ll almost certainly have to wear a brace on the knee when he returns and the area will be susceptible to another blowout, the source said.

If that occurs, what then for the Patriots?

That’s where Cassel’s situation becomes interesting. After three full seasons working as a backup to Brady, Cassel has played brilliantly this season, especially relative to the expectations of how much he could deliver.

He’s thrown for 3,615 yards, 21 touchdowns, 11 picks and completed more than 63 percent of his passes. And the Patriots, entering Sunday, are 10-5 with a chance to win the AFC East. This after spending his entire college career at USC without starting a single game.

On the free agent market, the 26-year-old Cassel would certainly be as appetizing an option as any quarterback coming out in April’s draft. By way of financial comparison, Matt Ryan, the third overall pick last April, got a six-year, $72 million deal from the Falcons, which included more than $34 million in guaranteed money.

But if the condition of Brady — the NFL’s MVP in 2007, a three-time Super Bowl winner and a two-time Super Bowl MVP — is still tenuous, the Patriots might use the franchise tag on Cassel. That would mean Cassel would be paid the average of the top five quarterback salaries in the league. That probably would come in around $12 million.

Brady’s 2009 salary is $5 million and he’s also due a $3 million roster bonus. Relative to the league’s other successful quarterbacks, he’s a bargain. But if the Patriots opt to franchise Cassel as insurance, that means the team will have close to $20 million in salary to be paid out to their two quarterbacks. Additionally, $6.6 million of Brady’s pro-rated signing bonus will count against their 2009 cap. That would mean the Patriots would be spending close to $26 million of the projected $123 million salary cap on these two quarterbacks.
Tom Curran's story is the most legit. He has more credibility than Peter King and others reporting on this story. I heard he was actually in Foxboro on Friday and shorty after this story broke.

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Old 12-30-2008, 08:19 AM    (permalink
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Like you said there are other conflicting reports. I've heard from numerous sources around here that he is actually ahead of schedule, or right on schedule....im not sure anybody knows exactly what is going on (in the media at least)
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:48 AM    (permalink
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Bill rocks. Call him any name you like, he wins. Faustian deals or not, in Bill we trust.

But I agree - the Pats can likely survive a few games w/O'Connell. Clearly Bill has shown he can win no matter what "key position" player goes down.

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Old 12-30-2008, 09:24 AM    (permalink
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Adam Schefter just said he's on schedule. I trust him more than Tom E. Curran.
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:12 AM    (permalink
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The only reports of Brady being behind schedule I've heard of s when news of the infection came. I trust whatever decision BB makes. And Cassell has shut my big mouth up since the beginning of the season. He looks like a very solid Qb.
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:15 AM    (permalink
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Adam Schefter just said he's on schedule. I trust him more than Tom E. Curran.
Why, Schefter throws as much junk at the wall as anybody.
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Old 12-30-2008, 12:08 PM    (permalink
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Why, Schefter throws as much junk at the wall as anybody.
Do NOT blaspheme the Schef!
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Old 12-30-2008, 12:21 PM    (permalink
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Do NOT blaspheme the Schef!
Sorry, I consider him one of the chief pot stirrers when it comes to making football about drama and storylines vs. actually playing a man's game.

However, his suits are very stylish.
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Old 12-30-2008, 01:26 PM    (permalink
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Meh....to me, this is nothing more than a few writers trying to make a story out of nothing. How many hundreds of knee operations have guys come back from in the NFL on time and with no problems?
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Old 12-30-2008, 01:40 PM    (permalink
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Meh....to me, this is nothing more than a few writers trying to make a story out of nothing. How many hundreds of knee operations have guys come back from in the NFL on time and with no problems?
Yeah never happens :)
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:38 PM    (permalink
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What I think is happening is the Patriots are trying to spread rumors about Brady's knee coming along slowly so that when they franchise Cassel they can get some extra value for him. I wouldn't be surprised at all if New England got a first round pick for Cassel from a team like Minnesota.
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:44 PM    (permalink
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What I think is happening is the Patriots are trying to spread rumors about Brady's knee coming along slowly so that when they franchise Cassel they can get some extra value for him. I wouldn't be surprised at all if New England got a first round pick for Cassel from a team like Minnesota.
The Vikings GM pretty much stated at one time that he doesnt like to trade away draft picks, So i doubt we would trade for Cassel. The reason why it took for ever to trade for Jared Allen was because he didnt want to give up 3 picks but he finally caved in. So I have a feeling the only way we will get Cassel is if he hits Free Agency but even then I doubt it.

But I agree this all does sound like a Bill Belichick playing around with the media like he does with the Injury report at times.
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:51 PM    (permalink
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I think Cassel is definitely gone. 12 million dollars is waaaaay too much for an insurance policy. I think the Pats will draft a QB in the 2nd or 3rd rounds (pretty sure they have multiple first day picks) or sign someone like Kyle Boller in FA, and Brady will come back in 09 whether his knee is fully healed or not.
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:36 PM    (permalink
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So Tom's 31 now, he'll be 32 before the next draft and if he missed the entire season 33 before he played his first regular season game.

He's going to have to have another surgery and then work through to get his tolerance of bending and flexibility back in his knee, then obviously get back to football fitness and then adjust his mind to picking up playbooks, recognizing blitzes and all the rest of it after 2 years of doing nothing but sitting in a hospital room.

I might sound insane, but Tom Brady might have played his last game in the NFL and not because any other team wouldn't want him. I'm thinking that by the time he realises that if he fights through the rehab by the time he's ready to go he'll be 33 with three rings and being considered one of the best of all time and a likely first ballot inductee, he might decide to hang up the boots rather than risk further injury, or tarnishing that reputation.

I dunno, I'm just thinking out loud so don't go crazy and attack me here.
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:38 PM    (permalink
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So Tom's 31 now, he'll be 32 before the next draft and if he missed the entire season 33 before he played his first regular season game.

He's going to have to have another surgery and then work through to get his tolerance of bending and flexibility back in his knee, then obviously get back to football fitness and then adjust his mind to picking up playbooks, recognizing blitzes and all the rest of it after 2 years of doing nothing but sitting in a hospital room.

I might sound insane, but Tom Brady might have played his last game in the NFL and not because any other team wouldn't want him. I'm thinking that by the time he realises that if he fights through the rehab by the time he's ready to go he'll be 33 with three rings and being considered one of the best of all time and a likely first ballot inductee, he might decide to hang up the boots rather than risk further injury, or tarnishing that reputation.

I dunno, I'm just thinking out loud so don't go crazy and attack me here.
I think what you're really saying is Tom Brady should start planning out his first political campaign?
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:43 PM    (permalink
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Well, really yeah...

I mean if you think about it 38 is the average age of most QBs when they retire, Montana and Elway spring to mind He'd feasibly play his next game at 33 and then have four more years in the league, so if he thinks Bill is up to another 4 years leading the ship, or he wants another ring he'd have a shot, but it's a lot of pain to have to re-learn everything physically and readjust mentally with a lot of pressur on you.
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:46 PM    (permalink
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I actually do think Brady will retire after 2-3 more seasons of play because he has said that he won't get married and settle down until he retired and says that there is much more to life than football. Still, you don't replace this guy. That would be a huge slap in the face to Patriots fans to have a quarterback who leads you on the best run in the history of your franchise, throws 50 touchdowns in a season, and release him when he gets hurt. Matt Cassel is a good quarterback, but Tom Brady is (if he comes back how he left) an elite quarterback and one of the best of all time. Good luck to Cassel in the future but give me Brady any day of the week.
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