By Tom E. Curran
Last year, there was all manner of hand-wringing about Tom Brady's offseason regimen which included barely an appearance in Foxboro. "The parking space!" "The contract!" "Giselle!" "Hollywood!" "Buildinga2-million square foot mansionwallpapered withrecycled Keno slips!""Soft!"Even owner Robert Kraft said he'd have preferred his quarterback be in Foxboro than everywhere else his quarterback was. Brady finally blew into town when it fit his schedule. He carried a no bullcrap agenda. He reamed rookies who ran wrong routes. He dropped F-bombs with impunity. Then, when the season started, he led the Patriots to a 14-2 record, threw 36 touchdowns and four picks on an offense populated with virtualunknowns. Then he was named NFL MVP. Unanimously. Oh, they lost to the Jets in the playoffs? If anyone wants to say with a straight face that happened because Brady was in Cannes doing his nails on a veranda in May, they forfeit the right to have their opinion valued. What he did with his time then didn't matter. And what he's done this offseason - when he's seemed softer than a butterfly's sigh - won't matter too much either. What is worth remarking upon, though, is the swinging Richard manner in which Bradysweeps into town this week and grabs the reins of the offseason workouts. As if now the 12 to 15 guys who've been working out in Foxboro since early March and catching passes from Brian Hoyer can really get some work in now with Brady in town. He's the franchise quarterback, the best player in the league and a mega-celebrity. I get it. And a lot more players are taking part now because of this concentrated gathering. But it is an insult to the players who have been working en masse since March to pass along the notion that the work began Wednesday at Alumni Stadium. Maybe it's an insult initiated and then perpetuated by the media. I know that our joint went "all hands on deck" when we heard Brady was in town. But it will be interesting to see if Brady promotes this presumption by not being at least a little deferential when he speaks Friday at Harvard Stadium at his charity flag football event. Brady is a great worker. He is a great teammate. But it will be a sad development if no mention is made of the work Mayo and Co have put in to build the 2011 Patriots. It will be a sign thatthe self-awareness that makes Brady special is finally slipping.