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Patriots' Brady unhurt in wreck near Boston home; OKs contract to become NFL's top paid player

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was unhurt in a two-vehicle accident near his home Thursday morning before practicing as usual with his team ahead of the season opener and agreeing to a four-year contract extension that, according to two people familiar with it, would make him the NFL's highest-paid player.

The extension begins in 2011 at an average of $18 million per year with a total of $48.5 million guaranteed, one of those persons said. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because the paperwork had not yet been filed with the NFL.

The crash, at an intersection in Boston's Back Bay area, knocked over a light pole and sent a passenger in the minivan that collided with Brady's car to a hospital with injuries that were serious but not considered life-threatening, a police report said.

A witness told The Associated Press that the two-time Super Bowl MVP was approaching the intersection on a green light when his black Audi sedan collided with the minivan.

The 21-year-old driver of the Mercury Villager minivan, Ludgero Rodrigues, was cited Thursday for failing to stop at a red light, based on witnesses statements, police said. Two other people in the minivan were able to exit and had no visible injuries, they said.

The police report, which did not name Brady, said the driver of the Audi had no visible injuries and was evaluated by Emergency Medical Services. It said a 49-year-old passenger had to be freed with the Jaws of Life and was taken to a hospital.

Rodrigues' driver's license had been suspended at least five times in three years, Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Ann Dufresne said. Last year, his license was suspended for 180 days after he was arrested for operating under the influence and refused to take a blood-alcohol test, Dufresne said.

RMV records also show that Rodrigues had been charged with a number of moving and traffic violations.

A telephone listing for Rodrigues could not immediately be found Thursday.

Brady's father had just arrived in Boston from the family's California home early Thursday and found out about the accident when he got off his flight.

"I understand he's fine, but I haven't talked to him," Tom Brady Sr. told the AP outside his son's home three blocks from the accident site.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick told the team about the accident before practice and said Brady might be a bit late, linebacker Tully Banta-Cain said.

"I was hoping, obviously, that he was OK, but I saw him walking in. He had a smile on his face, no abrasions, so I think he's fine," Banta-Cain said.

The Patriots open their season at home Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Brady is making $6.5 million this season in the final year of a six-year, $57.3 million contract.

The average value of the new deal surpasses that of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who agreed this year to a six-year, $97.5 million ($16.25 million average) extension starting next year.

Brady's new contract was first reported by Peter King of Sports Illustrated during halftime of NBC's telecast of the Minnesota-New Orleans game.

During the 11-minute portion of New England's afternoon practice that reporters were allowed to watch Thursday, Brady, in full uniform with pads and helmet, stretched as usual with his teammates. Then, as he usually does, he threw soft passes of 20 to 30 yards to teammates.

"I want to thank the safety personnel for their service, and express our concern and support for the well-being of the occupants of the other vehicle," Brady's agent, Don Yee, said in a statement.

Police responded to Commonwealth Avenue and Gloucester Street around 6:30 a.m. after reports of an accident, police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said.

One of Brady's neighbors, a 74-year-old woman who asked that her name not be used for fear of being hounded by reporters, was walking her dogs when she saw the accident.

She said Brady was traveling south on Gloucester and approaching the intersection on a green light when his black Audi collided with a fast-moving red Ford Aerostar that was westbound on Commonwealth.

"The red car went up in the air, sideways. ... The tire was half off," the woman said.

Afterward, she said Brady immediately got out of his car.

The woman had been walking toward the intersection when she saw the cars on their collision course. She took a step backward, tripped on the curb and hit her head, she said.

She sat next to Brady in an ambulance, but neither was taken to a hospital. She said she did not realize he was the star quarterback until later.

Bill Barron said he was in his apartment overlooking the intersection when he heard a collision that sounded like "a bolt of lightning."

When he looked out the window, he saw the driver of the car picking glass off his clothes and wiping himself off with a towel. He didn't realize until later that it was Brady.

"I thought it was some college kid who had crashed up his father's really nice car," Barron said.

Brady then retrieved some items from his car, made a series of phone calls and was picked up by another vehicle, Barron said.

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Associated Press writers Mark Pratt, Denise Lavoie, Russell Contreras and Howard Ulman contributed to this report.