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|edHelper's suggested reading level:||grades 6 to 8|
|Flesch-Kincaid grade level:||6.35|
By Phyllis Naegeli
1 He has been compared to legends such as Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw. Tom Brady, the Patriots' star quarterback, was born on August 3, 1977, in San Mateo, California. His family loved sports. They were fans of the San Francisco 49ers football team and San Francisco Giants baseball team. Tom attended his first game when he was just three years old. It was the 1981 NFC Championship at Candlestick Park. Joe Montana and the big foam "We're #1" hands fascinated him. This game produced a love for football in Brady. Joe Montana became his idol, and his dream to play pro football began. For many years, it didn't look like Tom would fulfill this dream. He was not the best athlete, and his tall, lanky frame was hardly suited for the game. However, Tom was ambitious and competitive. His "never give up" attitude helped to make his dream come true.
2 During his childhood, Tom's best game was baseball. He was an excellent catcher and even drew the attention of Major League scouts. However, his first love remained football. In high school, Tom played back-up quarterback on the junior varsity team at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo. The school was known for its excellent sports program and boasted having Lynn Swann and Barry Bonds as students. It was a challenge to Tom to be noticed. He put together a vigorous training routine that included jumping rope, learning the plays, and studying the opposing teams. In 1992, his big chance came when the starting quarterback suffered an injury. Tom took the lead position and showed he had the right stuff. He learned from his mistakes and moved forward in his beloved sport. His success that season gave him the starting position the next.
3 After graduating from high school in 1994, he was drafted by the Montreal Expos to be a catcher on their team. He also received offers of scholarships from several college football teams. The decision was a difficult one for Tom. Eventually, he decided to go to the University of Michigan. For two years, he sat on the sidelines, watching and learning. Undeterred, he continued his painstaking training routine. In 1997, he was given the third-string quarterback position and played in only two games. It was during this time that an emergency appendectomy sidelined him again. His morale plummeted, but he had lots of time to think while recovering. He pulled himself up and worked hard to recover. It paid off in his final season at Michigan. He gained the starting position and led the team to the Orange Bowl. Then Tom set his sights on the professional leagues.
4 This would prove to be his biggest challenge. Tom had the statistics to be recognized, but his physical stature gave the football scouts many doubts. He was 6'4" tall but only weighed 200 pounds. It looked like Brady would have to settle for the position as back-up quarterback in the professional leagues. In 2001, Coach Belichick of the New England Patriots drafted him in the sixth round to fill this exact position.
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