Tom Brady is back practicing. Everyone associated with the New England Patriots is acting like he never missed a snap.
Brady returned to the field Thursday after being out the previous day resting his left, non-throwing shoulder. If it's a big deal to the football world that the Patriots' star quarterback briefly was sidelined four days before the AFC championship, his teammates and coach treated it as an inconsequential blip.
So did the two-time league MVP.
"It's not the first practice I have missed over the years," Brady said with a shrug of his shoulders — including the sore left one. "When coach feels its best that you do other things to get yourself ready, that's what you do, and you still use all that time very wisely. When your coach feels it is best to do other things to get yourself ready, that is what you do."
Coach Bill Belichick revealed little about Brady's absence on Wednesday, lumping it in with every other player in the NFL who gets nicked. Then again, Belichick doesn't give out much information or insight on anything injury-related. Ever.
New England hosts the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC championship on Sunday.
Brady missed one practice and was limited for two others during the final week of the regular season, but he played all but the final offensive series in a 49-21 win over Buffalo. Last Saturday, he played every New England offensive series in a 45-10 divisional playoff win over Denver after being on the injury list but practicing in full all week.
The quarterback stretched and ran a few drills Thursday during the 15 minutes the media were allowed access to the session. He ran with the ball in his left arm as backup quarterback Brian Hoyer half-heartedly attempted to knock it out. Brady showed no signs of being in pain.
The day before, Brady had to find ways to keep himself occupied during the missed session.
"You don't go lounging around taking naps or anything like that," he said with a chuckle. "You just try to do other things to get yourself ready to go. So catch up on your film work and get some extra treatments and so forth. It's just a matter of ultimately we're trying to be as prepared as we can for Sunday. I'm certainly going to be as prepared as I possibly can be.
"It's not the first practice that I've missed over the years. You come off a game Saturday or Sunday and you're just doing everything you can to be prepared. You're just putting in extra work and making sure you're getting prepared."
Then Brady promised to be out on the field, and a while later he was.