Tom Brady on hand: 'My season can't end on a handoff'

Tom Brady had to overcome a lot en route to his eighth Super Bowl berth. The loss of Julian Edelman before the season. An unflattering, distracting headline that questioned the mortality of his dynasty. Rob Gronkowski's first-half exit in the title game.

But no hurdle got more play this week than Brady's hand, which required multiple stitches after he collided with Patriots running back Rex Burkhead in practice on Wednesday.

After a week of speculation and presser gamesmanship, Brady emerged from the bowels of Gillette Stadium on Sunday with a black bandage, not a glove as some had suspected, on his injured hand. The quarterback looked unbothered physically as he led yet another fourth-quarter comeback to lead New England past the Jaguars and their league-best defense and into another Super Bowl appearance.

After the victory, Brady detailed how jarring the injury was.

"I've never had anything like it. I've had a couple crazy injuries, but this was pretty crazy," Brady told reporters. "They come up and you just deal with them, and I wasn't quite sure how I was gonna do.

"This was a little injury at the end of the day. It's certainly a big part of what a quarterback does. I've had a lot worse injuries than this. But if this was on my left hand, I couldn't care less. But based on where it was, we had to deal with it."

As is his custom, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was less dramatic about the ordeal.

"You know, Tom did a great job and he's a tough guy. We all know that," Belichick said. "I'm not talking about open-heart surgery here."

Nearly outdueled by Blake Bortles, Brady rebounded after an uneven first half, completing 68.4 percent of his passes and finishing with 290 yards, two fourth-quarter touchdowns and a 108.4 passer rating. In the fourth quarter alone, Brady boasted a 136.3 passer rating.

But this showing, yet another epic performance in Brady's Hall of Fame reel, almost didn't happen.

"I wasn't sure on Wednesday [whether I'd play]. I thought, out of all the plays, my season can't end on a handoff in practice. I didn't come this far to end on a handoff," Brady explained after the game. "It's just one of those things. So I came into the training room and wasn't quite sure what happened. But everyone did a great job of kind of getting me ready. The training staff and the doctors and Alex [Guerrero]. There was a great team effort. Without that, I definitely wouldn't be playing. "

Brady declined to divulge specifically how many stitches were placed in his hand or to even show his hand to reporters despite their prodding, joking "We should keep that a secret a little longer." The quarterback did add that he expects to have the stitches removed "pretty soon."

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