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Tom Brady still feels like he's proving himself

January 31, 2012 | 11:26 am

Tom Brady

New England quarterback Tom Brady has led the Patriots to five Super Bowls since 2001 and is a lock for Canton on the first ballot. Still, there's a part of him that's still determined to prove himself, still a part of that Tom Brady selected in the sixth round of the 2000 draft.

“I don’t think it’s just that 2000 NFL draft," Brady said. "What you’re always trying to do as an athlete is prove it to yourself. You go through a college career and think you do a decent job –- not that you get overlooked, it’s just that there are other guys who they feel can do a better job –- so you just keep working hard, you just keep believing in yourself and looking for your opportunity.

"Unfortunately, I got my opportunity through Drew (Bledsoe) getting injured. At the same time, I wanted to take advantage of that opportunity. Life is about taking advantage of opportunities, and you never know when you’re going to get them. You have to be prepared to take advantage when you get them. You try to go out there and be confident in yourself so you can inspire confidence in others.

"I always tell young players, ‘How do you expect me to be confident in you when I look at you and see that you’re not confident in yourself?’ You’re always bringing that level of confidence so guys look at you and say, ‘I know he’s going to get it done, so this is how I’m going to prepare myself.’"

Asked about the difference between the Super Bowl in early 2002 and this one, Brady said: "That was the 9-11 year, so there was only one week to prepare. We went down to New Orleans and there was so much happening, not just with Super Bowl week. I had actually hurt my ankle in the previous game, so I spent a ton of time in the training room getting ready for that game. We were playing one of the greatest teams in football (St. Louis).

"From what I do remember, it was a pretty crazy week. There was a ton to do in a very short amount of time.”

-- Sam Farmer, reporting from Indianapolis