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Tom Brady Appearing on Injury Report Hasn't Hampered His Play Lately

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 15: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots points to the defense during the third quarter of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
Eric Espada/Getty Images

One aspect of Tom Brady's career that flies a bit under the radar, relative to the rest of his gaudy accomplishments, is his durability. The only time over the past two decades he's missed games due to injury was when he tore his ACL in Week 1 of the 2008 season. Otherwise, Brady has remained the constant as just about everyone around him missed games at one point or another due to injuries suffered in the grinding game of football.

As such, it was noteworthy when Brady appeared on the Patriots' injury report on Wednesday with a calf ailment and was limited in practice, especially in light of fellow veteran QBs going down with major injuries last week. Brady has appeared on the injury report countless times over the last 20 years, but those appearances became more significant after the NFL removed the "probable" designation from weekly injury reports in 2016. Since then, New England has presumably only placed Brady on the report when he's actually banged up instead of listing him as probable every week to fit within the letter of the law of the NFL when it comes to the weekly injury reports.

But have these injuries actually hampered Brady? Not recently.

Last season, Brady was dealing with a nagging knee injury for a few weeks in the middle of the season, although no one ever believed he was in danger of missing time. But his name was on the injury report for Week 12 and 13 last season. In those two games, Brady went a combined 44-of-63 for 594 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Not exactly dominance, but they won both games handily and Brady didn't look like he was hampered in any way.

The most infamous example in recent memory comes from the 2017 playoffs, where Brady suffered a lacerated hand before the AFC Championship Game against Jacksonville. The pictures that emerged afterwards suggest it was likely the most significant injury he suffered since he tore his ACL. We're all aware of what happened next: Brady led the Patriots to another AFC title despite going down two scores, then set every offensive record imaginable in Super Bowl LII in a losing effort.

If you go back far enough, there are examples of Brady slowing down a bit. Like this week, he was listed as limited with a calf injury ahead of New England's season opener in 2014, which they ultimately lost, 33-20, to the Dolphins and Brady went 29-of-56 for 249 yards and a TD. But if recent history is any indication, it should be business as usual on Sunday against the Jets.