In the span of six days, Tom Brady threw passes on the Great Wall of China, rubbed shoulders with a Korean pop star in Shanghai, and spent a morning in the company of sumo wrestlers in Tokyo.
The New England Patriots quarterback also found the time to extol the virtues of a good night’s sleep.
Brady was in Japan this week for the last two days of a six-day promotional tour with Under Armour. The five-time Super Bowl champion made stops in Beijing and Shanghai before arriving in Japan on Wednesday.
“It’s my second time here,” Brady said Thursday. “I’ve had such a great trip. I love the culture, I love the people, so I’m looking forward to coming back again.”
Brady’s time in Tokyo included an early-morning trip to the Sakaigawa stable, in Adachi Ward, where he grappled with ozeki Goeido and joined his 9-year-old son Jack in taking pictures with a few rikishi and also in the ring.
He also held a quarterback clinic for a group of college players, getting help from X League signal-callers Devin Gardner, a former University of Michigan quarterback like Brady, and Colby Cameron and receiver Takashi Kurihara.
“He wasn’t throwing hard, but his passes were fast, yet easy to catch,” Kurihara said after running drills with Brady.
Kurihara, who was invited to a 2013 minicamp with the Baltimore Ravens, currently plays for IBM BigBlue in the X League.
“American quarterbacks put a lot of spin on the ball, but it varies depending on the quarterback,” he said. “But Brady’s passes were coming in fast.”
Kurihara came away with a renewed appreciation.
“When I went to the NFL Veteran Combine (in 2015) I would often catch passes from Brady Quinn (who played in the NFL from 2007-2013),” he said. “Quinn has a strong arm, but Brady’s passes are far easier to catch. When you catch Brady’s passes, it’s almost like you just extend your arms and the ball is there. That’s why the Patriots don’t always have to have the best receivers in the league.”
It doesn’t seem to take long for Brady to leave an impression.
“He was a really nice person, he treated me really well,” said Kawasaki Brave Thunders guard Naoto Tsuji, who participated in a “talk show” with Brady on Thursday.
“I learned a lot from him (during the discussion). Although it was such a short time, there was so much to learn,” the B. League standout said.
Brady’s trip to Japan was part of the promotion for Under Armour’s Athlete Recovery Sleepwear, which was produced in collaboration with Brady’s company TB12. The sleepwear is designed with bioceramics technology that the company says “is designed to help your body recover faster and promote better sleep.”
“To me, it speaks for itself,” Brady said. “Once you wear it, it will change your life. I’ve worn it everyday, and I’ll never not wear it.”
Recovery is something near and dear to Brady’s heart these days. He’ll be 40 by the time the NFL’s regular season begins, an age when most quarterbacks are either retired or hanging on in backup roles. Only one, Brett Farve in 2009, has ever recorded a double-digit win season.
“You have a physical peak, it’s usually when you’re young,” Brady said. “But you have a mental peak as you get older and get experience. But I believe you can actually extend your physical peak to match your mental peak. But every decision you make affects your physical being. So I believe in a very holistic approach of the right type of nutrition, the right type of hydration, the kind of workouts you need to do in order to sustain that and a very positive, healthy attitude, and I don’t think there are any shortcuts.
“I want to continue playing, because I love this sport. Because I have the ability, I feel like this is a great time in my life to be the best version of the football player I can be.”
Brady is also notable for the famously strict diet he utilizes to help stay in shape. Last year, his chef Allen Campbell dished on some of the things Brady eats. It’s mostly vegetables and lean meats, and no tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms or eggplants. Or white sugar or flour for that matter, he told Boston.com.
“My regimen is very strict,” Brady said. “I feel like I’m pretty disciplined. But that’s been an evolvement of many years. I wasn’t as disciplined at 27 as I am now at 39.”
Brady heads into the upcoming NFL season hoping to lead the Patriots to another Super Bowl. He ended last season by engineering a 25-point comeback, the largest in Super Bowl history, to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime and secure his fifth title and fourth Super Bowl MVP.
The quarterback is leaving that triumph in the past as he looks toward getting back on the gridiron in the coming weeks.
“We’re starting at the same place everyone is starting at,” Brady said. “So we have to earn every victory, nothing will be easy. We know the challenges will be very difficult, but we’re excited to embrace them and hopefully we can go out and play as best as we possibly can. I’m hoping for another great season.”
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