Patriots Brady makes being a superstar QB look almost routine

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Tom Brady arrives at Gillette Stadium before the sun comes up.
As always, there is work to be done, and no time to waste.
Yes, he is the superstar quarterback with the golden arm and the sharp football mind. Yes, he is in position to break Peyton Manning's single season record of 49 touchdown passes. And yes, he is the main reason the New England Patriots are challenging the 1972 Miami Dolphins' status as the only team to go undefeated for an entire Super Bowl season.
This, however, is what teammates see and respect:
''When you see him here at 6:15 in the morning, lifting weights, watching film and working out, I think that's not a sign of a guy that's getting a big head,'' safety Rodney Harrison said.
And that is why Brady was both flattered at being selected The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year, and determined to spread the honour around.
''I play in a team sport,'' Brady said. ''Everybody I play with is responsible for what each of us accomplishes as individuals and for what we all accomplish as a team.''
Brady received 51 votes from members of The AP, 18 more than runner-up Roger Federer, who won his fifth straight Wimbledon and fourth straight U.S. Open tennis tournament in 2007. They were followed by Tiger Woods, Manning, Barry Bonds and Josh Beckett.
Lorena Ochoa, who won eight tournaments including the Women's British Open and became the first LPGA Tour player to win US$4 million in a season, was the runaway choice as top female athlete for the second consecutive year.
Brady, who grew up in the San Francisco area, is the first football player to win the award since quarterback Joe Montana of the 49ers in 1989 and 1990.
''You look at Joe Montana, who was one of my role models growing up, Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods,'' Brady said. ''They're all great role models for children and adults with how they handle themselves every time they step out in public. It's flattering to be mentioned in their company.''
Armstrong won the award four consecutive years before Woods broke that streak last year, winning it for the fourth time.

Organizations: New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins

Geographic location: Gillette Stadium, Wimbledon, San Francisco

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