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Brady wants time off for child's birth

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Soon-to-be father and star quarterback Tom Brady knows he can't make all the calls.

He'd like a few days off to be at the birth of his first child -- "I hope so," he said Monday -- but the Patriots schedule and coach Bill Belichick might get in his way.

"Bill has a lot to say," Brady said, "so we'll deal with it when it happens."

New England plays the third of its four exhibition games -- the one in which Brady usually gets the most playing time - on Friday night at Carolina. The first regular season game is set for Sept. 9 at the New York Jets.

Brady refused to say Monday if his former girlfriend, actress Bridget Moynahan, is due to give birth to their child before the Jets game. But on Feb. 19, six months ago, her publicist, Christina Papadopoulos, said she "is over three months pregnant. Former boyfriend Tom Brady is the father."

He doesn't know when he'll get a telephone call telling him he's about to be, or already is, a father.

"I wish I did," he said with a smile. "That's God's decision. The good lord is making that call. So I think everybody's anxious. I'll put it that way."

Meanwhile, Brady is focusing on football -- at least while he's at work. Besides, other players on the team have wanted time off in past seasons for personal issues and received it.

"Certainly, a lot of people make sacrifices for their family," he said, "and I'm dealing with a certain situation, a very joyous, happy situation. And some people have dealt with death in the past and that's incredibly difficult.

"You realize when you come here you try to focus your attention and compartmentalize what you're doing so you can give this team what it needs because that's really what you sign up for when you come here," he added. "I'd hate to come in here and have my mind on 100 different things when that's not going to help this team at all. And then when I leave here I deal with that and my team takes ... a step backward."

In last Friday night's 27-24 loss to Tennessee, Brady played seven series before being replaced late in the first half. He completed 10 of 19 passes for 145 yards, a 28-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker, and two interceptions.

In the exhibition opener, a 13-10 loss at Tampa Bay, he played two series and was 5-for-7 for 34 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.

Last season, Brady threw for 231 yards in the third game but sat out the entire fourth and final exhibition contest although he was healthy. So his chances of attending the birth should improve once Friday's game is over.

"You prepare hard for every game because every time you go out there if you're not prepared you're susceptible to getting hurt," he said. "You'd hate to go out there and not perform well because you really build confidence from the games."

If Brady does leave for a while, the Patriots have three quarterbacks to step in. Vinny Testaverde practiced for the first time this season on Monday after re-signing for one year on Friday. They also have Matt Cassel and rookie free agent Matt Gutierrez.

"In the meetings he's great," Brady said. "He brings a lot of experience and he's a great guy. He's fun to have around."

Testaverde, 43, said he didn't know if he would play Friday.

"I'm just trying to learn the new plays," he said. "I haven't talked to anybody about playing. Whatever it's going to be, it's going to be."

A bigger question: Will Brady play or get time off?

Personal situations "are all talked about and dealt with on an individual basis,"

Belichick said. "It doesn't matter who the player is. There are plenty that have come up through the course of the year. I'll deal with them like I do all of them."

So when his phone rings the next time, is Brady anticipating it will be the call telling him that fatherhood is imminent?

"Um," he said with a grin, reluctant to give a hint about the due date.

"It's stuff that's very private to me and it's my family," he said. "I'm sure it won't be hard to figure out when it happens."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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