ALLEN PARK — After a grinding joint practice with the Detroit Lions on Monday morning, the New England Patriots ran hill drills and then sang happy birthday to their quarterback, Tom Brady.
“It was a different rendition of the traditional happy birthday but it was nice,’’ said Brady who turned 42 on Saturday.
On Sunday he signed a two-year contract extension worth $23 million for this season, per ESPN. It was hardly a surprise since Brady has led the Patriots to six Super Bowl championships and has defied age for the past few years.
“Just had a great history, I love playing quarterback here, I love this team, the organization, Mr. (Robert) Kraft, Jonathan (Kraft), coach (Bill) Belichick, all the coaches, all the players,’’ Brady said. “The focus this year is on what we have to do so that’s where I’m focused. That’s all that really matters in the end. That’s what this team expects for me to put everything in it like I always have and I’m real excited for the year. This was good competition today we needed it to see where we’re at and try to make quite a few corrections, go out there tomorrow and see if we can do better.’’
Brady looked sharp during the workouts completing a high percentage of his passes against the Lions’ defense in team drills and seven-on-sevens.
The joint practices will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday leading up to the first preseason game for both teams at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at Ford Field.
Current Lions wide receiver Danny Amendola, who played for five seasons with the Patriots, is not surprised by Brady’s success and longevity.
“He works extremely hard, he’s very deserving of all he’s got,’’ Amendola said. “I’m happy for him, he’s a good friend. Any time I get to watch him play football is good.’’
Brady was peppered with questions about the future beyond 2021. He has said he wants to play until he’s 45 and seems to be headed in the right direction.
“I’m not worked up about it, I’m secure for this year I think — I got a few first-team reps out there,’’ Brady said with a smile.
“It’s a unique situation. I’m 20 years with the same team, I’ll be 42 years old it’s pretty much uncharted territory,’’ Brady added.
His health is the key for his longevity. In the past 10 years the only games he’s missed was for a four-game suspension in 2016.
“You’ve got to take care of your body. I wrote a book on it literally, I live by it and I think it’s given me pretty good results,’’ said Brady, the author of “The TB12 Method.” “I try to pass it on to the next generation so they don’t have to go through the same mistakes I did. Everyone learns different ways. Hopefully I can be an inspiration, I’ve got a great opportunity to prove to a lot of people they didn’t think I could do it and hopefully I can. Well done is better than well said.’’
“He can play forever,’’ Amendola said.
Brady just loves the game and it shows.
His eyes lit up when he was asked if it was good to be back in the state of Michigan.
“I love it, I love it,’’ he said.
After all he played his college ball 34 miles west of the Lions facility at the University of Michigan.