When Drew Bledsoe first began working with Tom Brady during the 2000 season, Bledsoe never would have believed that Brady would supplant him as the Patriots’ starting quarterback.
In fact, Bledsoe never thought Brady would start for any NFL team, ever. In a recent interview with ESPN, Bledsoe said he viewed Brady as a kid he’d take under his wing and make sure he didn’t blow all his NFL money, because he’d only be making backup money in his career.
“When he was on practice squad his rookie year, I actually called my financial advisor about him,” Bledsoe recalled. “I was like, ‘I really like this kid. He’s never gonna be a starter. He’s gonna be Jason Garrett or one of those guys who’s just going to be around forever. You’ll really like the kid.’ And we really liked the kid, we kind of brought him in, he was over at our house for dinner probably once a week. I really liked the kid, and still do. But nobody, outside of maybe Tom himself, would have ever predicted that he would go on to be a starter in the league and be in the conversation as maybe the greatest of all time.”
Bledsoe’s memory isn’t quite right; Brady was never on the practice squad. But Brady was, at the start of his rookie season, the Patriots’ fourth-string quarterback, and not many people believed he was a future starter. If Bledsoe hadn’t been injured during Brady’s second season, there’s no telling how long it would have taken for Brady to get his opportunity. Bledsoe didn’t think it would ever happen.