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Tom Brady cites 'personal reasons' for OTAs absence

Tom Brady ended his prolonged absence from Patriots activities this week, but hasn't revealed anything further about why he was missing.

Brady was back in Foxboro for Patriots minicamp and spoke with reporters Thursday, answering a variety of questions with a handful of non-answers. The man who has touted the importance of organized team activities in the past reinforced that idea, even if he wasn'te exactly practicing what he's preached.

"It's obviously important for everybody," Brady said of OTAs. "The coaches do a great job of getting us ready. It was just some personal reasons for me (that kept him out). But I'm here now and I'm focused on what I need to do, as I always am, and I'm looking forward to this year."

Money tends to be a sticking point and a reason for players to stay away from OTAs. It's not an uncommon occurrence, and with Brady approaching 41 years old in August, perhaps a compensation issue would be to blame?

"I've never talked about my contract," Brady said. "I've never brought up money for a lot of reasons that I've said over the years. Those things are very personal."

A theme is emerging here: it's personal.

There's been rumblings of a rift between Brady and head coach Bill Belichick in recent months, which could also qualify as personal, so naturally Brady was asked about that dynamic and whether his personal reason for missing OTAs had to do with the coach. Predictably, Brady responded with "not at all, I mean, no."

So what is the status of that relationship, Tom?

"It's great and we've always had a great relationship," Brady said. "I've been here for a long time and I love this team and I love this organization and I love playing quarterback for them. I loved it last year and I'm having fun now, so that's obviously what's most important."

All is well, nothing to see here. Except not all is well in Foxboro on Thursday, thanks to the news of Julian Edelman's four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances, information that was not yet public when Brady spoke to reporters. Unlike Edelman's preseason injury, New England will enter training camp knowing it won't have Edelman for the first quarter of the season (barring a successful appeal on the part of Edelman), adding importance to offseason preparation.

Perhaps this information will convince Brady to attend New England's next portion of voluntary activities. He was noncommittal before the news broke Thursday, saying "we're not even through today yet."

As the song goes, tomorrow is only a day away. Brady's attendance might be more necessary for a quarterback who needs to get comfortable with four new receivers: Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson, Kenny Britt and Braxton Berrios. That's a lot of new names to remember, especially when a familiar face likely won't be around come Week 1.

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