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NFL: Bill Belichick praises Tom Brady, denies refusing to meet QB

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Bill Belichick was quick to toss verbal bouquets toward Tom Brady during his press conference on Wednesday morning, four days ahead of the New England Patriots’ home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Patriots coach spoke glowingly of the 44-year-old Brady, who spent his first 20 NFL seasons with New England before heading to Tampa Bay to win his seventh Super Bowl title in February.

“Nothing Tom does surprises me,” Belichick said of the 14-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time NFL MVP. “He’s a great player. Works hard and takes care of himself. I mean, he’s talking about playing until 50. If anybody can do it, he probably can.”

Belichick didn’t stop there in his praise of Brady (80,291), who is 68 yards shy of passing Drew Brees (80,358) for the most in NFL history.

“He’s as tough as any quarterback there is or ever has been. Enough said,” Belichick said. “I mean, his numbers are incredible. He’s about to pass the all-time passing record. He’s done more than any other player at that position in whatever measurement you want to take, whether it’s yards, completions, touchdowns, championships. You name it, so put anything out there you want, but it doesn’t get any tougher than him.”

Belichick, however, wasn’t in the mood to address recently released excerpts of an upcoming book — “It’s Better to be Feared” — on the Patriots’ dynasty.

Well, save for one comment.

Belichick denied one allegation that he declined to meet Brady in person when the quarterback desired to speak with him about leaving the team in March 2020. Instead, according to the book, Belichick said he wasn’t available and insisted to speak to Brady on the phone.

“No, that’s not true,” Belichick said. “And I’ve heard a few things about this book, and it sounds like it’s a lot of second-, third- and fourth-hand comments. But I’m not going to get into that. I’m going to focus on this game, and try to prepare for the Bucs.”

The book will be published on Oct. 12.

The game between the Buccaneers (2-1) and Patriots (1-2) will be played on Sunday night in Foxborough, Mass.

The prime time contest also will feature the return of Rob Gronkowski. The five-time Pro Bowl tight end played a large role in helping the Patriots win four Super Bowl titles during his nine seasons with the club.

“I appreciate everything they’ve done and I have a ton of respect for them,” Belichick said. “But this Sunday we’re on opposite sides of the field and we’re going to do what we can to not make them enjoy the night.”

–Field Level Media

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