NFL deserves credit for checking Brady concussion allegations

When Gisele Bundchen speaks, the NFL listens.

The supermodel who is Tom Brady’s wife said on CBS This Morning last May that Brady has had concussions pretty much every year and suffered one last year.

“We don’t talk about it, but he does have concussions,’’ she said.

When Brady was finally asked about his wife’s comments, he said it was not anybody’s business, which is not exactly a strong denial.

The New England Patriots had never put Brady on the injury report with a concussion, but then the Patriots aren’t noted for being candid in their injury reports.

The obvious conclusion was that Brady did have a concussion last year. His wife should know. The only question was whether he hid it from the Patriots or that they declined to disclose it.

That seemed to be the end of the story.

But the NFL, to its credit, didn’t end the story there. A league that long denied concussions were a problem showed it’s finally taking the problem seriously.

In conjunction with the NFLPA – imagine the league and the union agreeing on something – the league announced this week that it reviewed every pass Brady threw last year. It said it studied the reports of the Unaffiliated Neuotrauma Consultants and the Booth ATC spotters. And Brady even agreed to turn over his medical records.

The league said it could find no evidence that he suffered a concussion last year.

So we have two different opinions – his wife said he did, while the NFL said he didn’t.

Could it be that he suffered one from a collision that looked harmless on film?

We’ll never know, but at least the NFL didn’t try to sweep her comments under the rug.

Imagine the pillow talk that Brady had with his wife after she made those comments. He probably wasn’t too happy about it. But he knows she speaks her mind. Remember after the Super Bowl loss when she said he couldn’t throw the ball and catch it, too?

Meanwhile, the NFL’s report came on the same day that op-ed columnist Frank Bruni of the New York Times wrote about Brady’s brain.

He noted Brady’s wife’s comments and said that Malcolm Gladwell said at the time in a podcast, “Why isn’t there a stronger drumbeat for him to retire? I do not want to see Tom Brady drooling in a cup at age 55.’’

Bruni then answered the question.

“There isn’t a stronger drumbeat for him to retire mostly because he gives so many spectators so much pleasure – and seems to be having a blast himself,’’ Bruni wrote.

It is also presumptuous for any of us to say Brady should retire. He knows the risks – as do all NFL players — and wants to play anyway. Who are we to say he shouldn’t?

And Brady will play until coach Bill Belichick takes the ball out of his hands.

Bundchen also once said that when they met, Brady told her he wanted to play 10 more years. Ten years later, she said he was still saying he wanted to play 10 more years, although he recently appeared to reduce it to five.

Except for the knee injury in the 2008 season opener that cost him that season, Brady has remained remarkably injury free. Unlike Peyton Manning, whose many injuries forced him into retirement.

I think the fact that the Patriots’ passing game is built on short passes so Brady isn’t exposed to the rush very long helps keep him healthy. And even though he’s not a runner, he’s able to slide in the pocket to avoid rushers.

Of course, age will eventually catch up to Brady. He’s not the same player at 40 that he was at 30, even though he shows no obvious signs of slowing down.

Brady, though, will continue to try to beat the odds. And continue to try to avoid concussions, or at least not to let anybody – especially possibly his wife – know when he has a concussion.

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