Nearly six weeks after Gisele Bundchen made a controversial claim that her husband, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, suffered a concussion last season, Brady finally broke his silence about the comments.
Brady spoke directly about the possibility of a concussion during the team’s 2016 Super Bowl campaign in an interview for ESPN’s “E:60” that aired Sunday morning.
“[Gisele] sees the hits, she was vocal about that, most recently on CBS about concussions, how much do you talk to her about those hits you take?” ESPN anchor Kevin Negandhi asked Brady about the comments Bundchen made in May on CBS This Morning.
His response neither confirmed nor denied a concussion last season.
“She’s there every day,” Brady said, according to CBS Sports. “I mean, we go to bed in the same bed every night, so I think she knows when I’m sore, she knows when I’m tired, she knows when I get hit. We drive home together [from games]. But she also knows how well I take care of myself. She’s a very concerned wife and very loving.”
The comments came after weeks of speculation from former players and analysts amid Brady’s media silence about the issue.
Brady’s agent Don Yee told ESPN’s Adam Schefter shortly after the Bundchen interview that Brady did not suffer a concussion last year.
“Tom was not diagnosed with a concussion last year,” Yee said. “Many of the protocols and safeguards still are evolving, and it’s obviously a good thing the organization and everyone close to him is vigilant and always looking out for his health.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick was also asked about the alleged concussion by a group of reporters in June but tiptoed around the issue, giving vague answers and not directly answering questions.
When asked to comment on Bundchen’s claims, Belichick gave very little information.
“We file injury reports every week,” he said. “So I’m not sure when the next one’s due, probably sometime in September, but we’ll have one for you then.”
NFL Investigated the Issue and Found Nothing
CBS This Morning host Charlie Rose asked Bundchen, who has often expressed her displeasure with Brady’s continuing play in the league, about whether she would like him to retire. That was when she revealed his concussions.
“As you know, it’s not the most, like — let’s say ‘unaggressive’ sport. Right?” she said. “Football, like, he had a concussion last year. I mean, he has concussions pretty much every — I mean, we don’t talk about — but he does have concussions.”
The comments immediately sparked a firestorm of questions around the league. The same day the interview was released, the NFL looked into whether Brady had suffered any head injuries last season.
“We have reviewed all reports relating to Tom Brady from the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants and certified athletic trainer spotters who worked at Patriots’ home and away 2016 season games as well as club injury reports that were sent to the league office,” the league said in a statement. “There are no records that indicate that Mr. Brady suffered a head injury or concussion, or exhibited or complained of concussion symptoms.”
Brady’s lukewarm and unrevealing comment about the concussion claims likely means the league will not look further into the issue.
Brady Wants to Keep Playing Until 45
In the interview, the 39-year-old reiterated his desire to continue playing football for several more years. He put the target at around 45, but he also noted that things could happen.
“I don’t think you can take anything for granted in football, things happen,” Brady said. “It’s just part of the sport. I would love to be able to continue playing at that level. As long as I keep playing well and committed to it, I’ll keep doing it. I know I got a lot left in me.”
As for his wife, Brady seemed to suggest that Bundchen is coming to terms with the fact that he will keep playing for at least five more years if his body holds up.
“She’ll support me as long as I continue to want to play,” Brady said about Bundchen. “She’s like my mom, the two of them together sitting next to each other in the suite watching me get hit all day, I’m sure it’s not fun, but they know how well I take care of myself, too.”
Brady’s declaration that he wants to play until he’s 45 continues to come amid more and more players retiring early over health concerns.
After suffering from four concussions in six seasons, tight end Jordan Cameron announced his retirement in March to help prevent any future brain diseases from playing too much football.
Buffalo Bills linebacker A.J. Tarpley also announced his retirement after his rookie season the previous year, citing his four concussions over the course of his whole football career as a motivating factor.