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Tom Brady says he would prefer a hit to the head than to his knees

The Bucs quarterback talks about changing NFL rules to better prevent knee injuries, the loss of Chris Godwin and new COVID-19 rules on his podcast
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady says injuries like the one receiver Chris Godwin endured Sunday can be avoided if the league outlaws certain hits.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady says injuries like the one receiver Chris Godwin endured Sunday can be avoided if the league outlaws certain hits. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Published Dec. 21, 2021|Updated Dec. 21, 2021

TAMPA — Tom Brady said he would rather take a hit to the head than one to his knees “a million out of a million” times and believes the play that knocked Chris Godwin out for the season should be outlawed by the league.

Godwin caught a pass from Brady and was struck on the right knee by Saints defensive back P.J. Williams in the second quarter of Sunday’s 9-0 loss to New Orleans. The Bucs learned Monday afternoon that Godwin is done for the season with an ACL tear.

Brady, 44, made the point on his Let’s Go! podcast that offensive ball carriers are the only players in the league that can be tackled by taking out their knees.

“I’ve seen that hit too many times where a defenseless pass catcher is in the process of catching the ball and he’s hit by the defender,” Brady said. “And a lot of defenders would say, ‘Well, we can’t hit him in the head anymore.’ Well, the point is, you can’t hit anybody in the head anymore.

“You can’t hit anyone in the knees anymore except for receivers. Which doesn’t make any sense to me. You can’t hit a defensive lineman in the knees, you can’t hit a punter in the knees, you can’t hit a quarterback in the knees, you can’t hit a DB in the knees except for allowing hits on defenseless receivers. It needs to be addressed and really thought out.

Bucs receiver Chris Godwin is injured in the second quarter of Sunday's game against the New Orleans.
Bucs receiver Chris Godwin is injured in the second quarter of Sunday's game against the New Orleans. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

“It really impacts guys’ careers and (Godwin), I know he’ll overcome it. It’s a tough rehab. You tear your ACL, that’s a life-long injury. You know? And I’m sure almost every pass catcher in the NFL would prefer a hit to the head over a hit to the knees. I certainly would. I’d take that a million out of a million.”

In enduring only the third shutout of his career, Brady said the injury loss of players such as Godwin, Mike Evans, Leonard Fournette, Lavonte David and Patrick O’Conner was even worse than the defeat.

“Everyone hates to see (Godwin) go down so there’s an emotional aspect to that, too, that we’ve all got to deal with knowing that one of our most dedicated guys is not going to be on the field with us for the rest of the year, which is tough,” he said. “And he’s got a tough road to overcome and I know he will because that’s the type of guy he is. But obviously, our hearts are with him. We love him. There’s nothing more we love than to have him out there with us. Tough for everyone to swallow. It’s a tough injury.

“It’s part of the sport, which makes it difficult. I know every sport has its challenges with physical injuries. Football is a demolition derby.”

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Brady discussed other topics Monday, which included:

The anger he displayed in breaking a tablet on the Bucs bench:

“Injuries are a totally separate emotion, obviously. Yeah, I was pretty pissed. I broke a tablet. I threw it. I didn’t want to throw an interception with that tablet so I threw it and made sure it hit the ground. It was out of use. There was no chance of that one being used after I got a hold of that tablet.”

On his exchange with Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen:

“We were just exchanging pleasantries. We were very competitive in that moment and we were emotional. It’s just football players being football players.”

On getting receiver Antonio Brown back from a three-game suspension:

“I think anytime you can get players back whether it’s from injury or Antonio’s situation, missing the last seven or eight weeks (Brown also had ankle/heel injuries prior to the suspension), hopefully it can add to our margin of error. He’s obviously a terrific player. There’s a lot to get up to speed on with everybody.”

On the NFL’s new COVID-19 protocol that will allow asymptomatic, vaccinated players to play:

“I’m all for it. I think the players who have done everything right to put themselves in position to play every week and to be knocked out being asymptomatic and understanding there’s zero risk of spreading it during a game makes no sense. That’s pretty much been proved and documented over the last year and a half.”

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