TAMPA, Fla. (NEXSTAR) – We call him a six-time champ. Best to ever do it. The GOAT. But those who know him personally say the guy they call Tommy hasn’t changed, even though his superlatives have.
“He’s a really good all-around guy, and the Tom Brady I remember from high school is the same Tom Brady you see today, and that’s what’s made him so successful … he’s never really changed, he’s stayed the same,” said John Kirby, Brady’s teammate at Serra High School.
Brady grew up outside San Francisco in San Mateo, where he spent his football career until his freshman year at Junipero Serra High School.
He was the only boy in a family with three older sisters. All of them were extremely athletic and competitive, so Brady spent most of his childhood playing one sport or another.
“Tommy was not only known for football, he was more known in our area for baseball,” said Kirby. “However at the time there was a lot of Division 1 colleges for football. They came calling, and Tom at the same time was being recruited to play baseball, and was actually signed to play for the Expos, but chose college football instead.”
But even before beginning his college career at Michigan, which included an Orange Bowl win over Alabama his senior year, Brady was honing the work ethic that helped would help him reach an NFL record 14 conference championships.
“He got me going to help me become an extra-hard worker, cause we would always stay after practice, and probably throw an extra 40-50 routes after a two-and-a-half, three-hour practice. And it’s things like that, the extra work, the little bit more that maybe your opponent’s not doing, those are the things that make Tommy great,” said Kirby.
Those little things have taken Brady from San Mateo to the Super Bowl stage, and to this day his mechanics and cadence on the field remain familiar to those who have known him the longest.
“One of his favorites was always ‘Green 91, Green 91’,” said Kirby. “You can hear that from time to time. It’s just great to hear the same voice, and to see really famous receivers and people on TV looking down at the line, and I used to look down at that same line and hear those same calls, and that’s really cool to see. It was definitely an honor to be able to play with him.”