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Contract not a distraction to Brady, who prefers to stay with Pats

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Tom Brady is known for being able to focus on his receivers in the face of oncoming rushers. This season, he plans to put that single-minded approach to another use -- keeping his contract negotiations from becoming a distraction to the New England Patriots.

"Nobody here can solve it but myself and the team," the quarterback said after Friday morning's training-camp practice. "I'm in the position a lot of guys are around the league and on this team. I'm under contract, and it's my responsibility to come out and play as well as I can. I've always felt that's what I love to do anyway -- to come out here and compete."

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Brady, who turns 33 Monday, said he would like to play for another 10 years, hopefully for the Patriots. He is making $6.5 million in the final year of his contract.

Patriots owner Bob Kraft told The New York Times that he believes Brady will receive a new deal from the team "one way or another."

"I believe he wants to be here. We want him here," Kraft said. "We have a complicated situation we're dealing with. There are a lot of forces at work. One way or another, it will work out."

If it doesn't work out, Brady said he has the mental toughness to not let contract talks or anything else become a distraction that would affect his play.

"We all deal with different stuff in our life -- some more challenging than others -- but I'm a leader on this team and I've been a captain for a long time," he said. "You just put those things off the field behind you and come here with a good attitude and show good leadership."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Brady has things he needs to work on during camp, just like every player, and he's confident he will get the work done.

"Now's the time to really start developing timing and consistency, feeling the rush and all those things a quarterback has to deal with such as time management, game management, so forth and so on," Belichick said. "He works as hard as anybody does. He's very professional. He's got a great work ethic. ... but there's no substitute for being out there with 21 other players."

Brady said the contract talks haven't affected his relationship with the organization or the Kraft family.

"I've always been privileged to play for Coach Belichick, who I've always said is the best coach in the history of the league," Brady said.

Besides Brady's contract, the absence of All-Pro guard Logan Mankins, who's holding out after refusing to sign a one-year tender during the offseason, has been the other story at the first two days of camp.

"Logan's been a good player and a great representative for this team," said Brady, who also serves as a player representative for the NFL Players Association. "We miss him. He has a lot of good friends on this team."

Brady said his surgically repaired left knee, which he injured nearly two years ago, feels "great."

"I'd like to play for another 10 years, hopefully," he said.

In addition, veteran linebacker Derrick Burgess still hasn't reported to training camp. Burgess, who had five sacks in his first season in New England and signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract during the offseason, was a no-show Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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