Next Pats Podcast

Ex-Patriots QB Matt Cassel tells amazing story about wrestling Tom Brady

Rodney Harrison and Richard Seymour were not amused.

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The New England Patriots teams of the 2000s won a lot of games and three Super Bowl titles. Those guys were laser-focused on winning, but they had plenty of fun and pulled lots of pranks, too, which helps make the stories from that era so good.

Former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently had famous boxer Canelo Alvarez on his podcast, and one subject that came up was which former teammate would Brady want to punch. Brady, jokingly, of course, mentioned Matt Cassel.

"Matt was so strong. He comes to the Patriots in the offseason program, and we had the best relationship," Brady said. "We laughed every single day. And we started wrestling, and he was so strong. He threw me on the ground and laid on top of me and I couldn't move. Rodney Harrison came over and said, 'Matt, if you hurt him, I'm going to kill you.' That was the last day Matt laid on top of me wrestling around."

We had to get Cassel's side of this story, so Phil Perry asked him about it on the latest episode of NBC Sports Boston's Next Pats Podcast.

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"I know that I've always had a punchable face, but at the same time, I'm sure he's still thinking about the day," Cassel said. "The fact that 20 years after the fact or however long it's been, probably not that long, but 15 years after the fact, he still remembers me body slamming him on the field and basically treating him like my little brother, makes me feel good.

"It gives me this prideful joy that he understands like, 'Hey, big boy, you better not mess with me.' Even though Rodney Harrison, those guys they did run over and they were so hot at me. It was unbelievable because we were super competitive. We worked out every day, testosterone's flowing. We get done with drills and he starts messing with me and, like I said, we were always (doing) childish humor, messing around and giving each other crap. And then he started wrestling and I was like, 'Oh, I'm in.' I love to wrestle. I grew up with brothers, I'm good to go for this. ... I just had the advantage. I had a big caboose back then. I used to be a 315 (pounds) for reps squat guy. I was like, 'Oh yes.' So then I just pinned him on the ground and held him down like a little you-know-what. And I just said, 'What's up? You want some of this?'"

It was all fun and games until Rodney Harrison showed up, and the veteran safety wasn't fooling around.

"But then Rodney Harrison ran over and he was so worried that I was actually gonna hurt Brady. He's like, 'Dude, get off him right now, I'm gonna punch you in the face,'" Cassel said. "He's like, 'Cassel, you're gonna get cut tomorrow, for one, if you hurt Brady. And two, we're all gonna kick the (expletive) out of you if you hurt Brady.' And I was like, 'Good point. Good point. All well taken, all well taken. OK, it was his fault. It was his fault, but I just had to put him in his place.'"

Harrison wasn't the only veteran who came over to defend Brady.

"Well, it wasn't just Rodney, it was Richard Seymour as well," Cassel explained. "So I've got two of them coming at me. Because I wanna be like, 'You guys want some?' I was feeling myself at that point, but it was a whole different animal if you deal with Rodney Harrison and Richard Seymour. So I said, 'Yes sir. Yes, sir. I'll get off, I'll get off.' Yeah, that was more than I would want to bite off for sure."

Also in the episode:

  • What intel would Will Grier be giving the Patriots? 
  • How to fix the downfield passing game. 
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