Hulking defensive ends bearing down on him, the NFL investigating his deflated footballs, charming a super model – none of these things rattle New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Talking about President Donald Trump? That’s a different story.
"Um, I have called him, yes, in the past,” Brady said when asked about his relationship with Trump on WEEI’s “Kirk and Callahan” show on Monday. “Sometimes he calls me. Sometimes I call him. But, again, that's been someone that I've known. I always try to keep it in context because for 16 years you know someone before maybe he was in the position that he was in. He's been very supportive of me for a long time. It's just a friendship. I have a lot of friends. I call a lot of people."
Ever since a “Make America Great Again” cap was spotted in Brady’s locker near the outset of Trump’s improbable presidential campaign, the media has questioned the quarterback over his ties to Trump. The (once again) Super Bowl-bound Brady has been just as evasive as he would be if he were being chased out of the pocket by a pair of linebackers.
“Why does everybody make such a big deal? I don’t understand it,” an increasingly squeamish Brady told WEEI.
Making matters worse for Brady, he has to balance a fan base – and more importantly a wife – who are not all that friendly toward Trump.
Massachusetts went overwhelmingly to Hillary Clinton on Election Day, 61 percent to 33.5 percent (in Foxborough, where the Patriots play, the margin was a bit slimmer, with Clinton beating Trump 51.3-41.8).
At home, the scales tipped even further in Clinton’s favor.
Asked on Instagram if she and her husband were supporting Trump, Brady’s wife Gisele Bundchen replied with an unequivocal: “NO!”
Trump himself hasn’t made things easy on Brady. The night before the election, Trump told a crowd in New Hampshire that Brady had indeed cast his vote for the billionaire real estate mogul.
“Tom Brady, great guy, great friend of mine, great, great champion, unbelievable winner. He called today,” Trump said. “And he said, ‘Donald, I support you, you’re my friend, I voted for you.’”
Brady allegedly gave Trump the “okay” to re-tell the story. But on Monday, Brady didn’t sound like a man eager to express his support for the 45th president.
"I don't want to get into it, but if you know someone it doesn't mean you agree with everything they say or they do. You have a lot of friends in your life," Brady said. "I think there are things that are based in your own dealings with someone that is a personal dealing, not a public dealing. Because you have personal experiences."