FOXBOROUGH, Massachuset – New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been limited in three of his last four practices and cited his age as part of the reason.
"Football is a sport. I wouldn't want 'I'm not saying I'm a spring chicken,'" said Brady, 42, with a smile on Wednesday. "I'm just trying to feel as good as I can and see how it goes tomorrow. But I'm feeling pretty good."
There is little doubt that Brady will play on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills in a highly anticipated 3-0 team match. But his limited workload appears to be part of "roster management" head coach Bill Belikick, named in connection with the team, which signed free agent Cody Kessler on Wednesday.
With Brady limited to practically twice last week, the only other Backslider on the list was rookie Jarrett Stidham. Stidham coping with the regular offense, in addition to the scout team, was a heavy burden.
Brady was one of 10 Patriots players who were limited in practice Wednesday to a group including receiver Julian Edelman who injured his ribs in Sunday's win over the New York Jets. The X-rays were negative, but it seems that Edelman was managing noticeable pain after he was landed by Henry Anderson's 300-pound security liner.
"He's as tough as they come," Brady says. "He'll do everything he can to get him ready. When he's not there, it's definitely noticeable to all of us. We hope he succeeds. If he can't, the other guys have to fill in and do the best work. "
Sunday's game includes the NFL's two strongest teams, as the Patriots have averaged 5.7 points per game in wins over Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins and Jets combined 0-9.
The Bills allow an average of 15.7 points per game in wins over the Jets, New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals, who are 1-8 combined.
Brady is no stranger to New Era Field (former Ralph Wilson Stadium) as he was the starter for 15 wins at the venue.
"It's a great environment for football," he said. "This will be the most difficult game we've ever encountered and we will have to play a great game. Getting on the road is difficult and certainly early in the game after their previous entry was back when they were a little bit fired – they are pretty strong. We have to execute early. Getting started quickly, which we have actually done a good job all year, is really important this week. "