To win the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award, an athlete typically must overcome a devastating injury, an embarrassing benching — or just completely lose his skills for at least a full season.
Doesn’t sound like the most attractive piece of hardware now, does it?
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady battled back from a debilitating left knee injury to put forth one of his best statistical seasons in 2009, and he received the comeback award yesterday as a result.
“I love playing, and I love being out there with my teammates,” Brady said. “That’s the greatest reward for any of us is to be a part of a team that is successful.”
The 32-year-old had his second-highest single-season totals with 4,398 passing yards, a 65.7 completion percentage and a 96.2 passer rating. He also threw 28 touchdown passes, tied for his second most. All of those marks ranked behind his record-setting season in 2007.
“Well-deserved. He’s had a tremendous year,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “I think we all know that Tom just brings so much to this team and our organization on and off the field.”
Brady has been up and down this season while recovering from knee surgery and other injuries, but he was at his best during a five-week stretch in Weeks 6-10, when he completed 72.0 percent of his passes for 1,705 yards, 14 TDs and four interceptions.
“We’ve got a lot of goals ahead of us as a team,” Brady said, “and those individual awards are obviously very flattering, but this time of year they don’t mean a whole lot.”