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Brady reflects on loss of mentor, preps for 2012

Associated Press Modified: June 16, 2012 at 11:46 am •  Published: June 16, 2012

One thing Martinez always stressed — and Brady has done a good job of on his own — is to take care of his body. Brady had his minicamp weigh-in on Wednesday, and checked in at 228 pounds.

"I feel really good," Brady said. "I feel great. I'm right about where I always am, to tell you the truth. I'm right where coach wants me at. I think you really refine what you do over the course of years because you realize what works for you and what you need to do to be prepared for the football season.

"I think there are things you do when you're younger I haven't necessarily done in a while because I don't think it really correlates well to being a better football player. And ultimately, we're trying to be the best football player we can be, not necessarily the best weight-lifter, or the best sprinter.

"You need to be the best football player."

At times, Brady's been that in the NFL. He is, after all, a three-time Super Bowl champion and two-time league MVP, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time Super Bowl MVP. And a lot of that has to do with staying in game shape, which he said is easier now than it was when he came into the NFL in 2000.

"A lot," Brady said. "And every year it seems to be little different. So, I'm always looking for little ways to improve. Certainly, eat healthier, which is actually easier to do now than it used to be when I was young. I eat pretty good."

As for the minicamp and the end of the offseason training activities, Brady said he and the team covered a lot of ground. This is a club coming off a 13-3 regular-season record and an AFC championship, of course.

"It's been a lot of fun, being back on the field, having a chance to work with a lot of the new guys," Brady said. "Some of those guys we've worked with and there's a lot of familiarity with. They've already done our offense, so it's been good. We've had 12 practices."

The Patriots are now off until July 26, when they report to training camp. The key between then and now for Brady & Company? Do not treat the next five weeks as vacation.

"We're in full preparation mode. This is the point where things really start getting ramped up. There's no breaks. We had our vacation," he said. "We had a lot of time off and now it's time to really focus in on what we need to do because we're going to blink and the first game is going to be here. You have about five weeks and everyone should use it really wisely, get in better shape, better football shape, have a better understanding of what we're doing so that we can go out there and when training camp starts, you can really get off to a great start.

"I've got a long way to go — a long way to go — nowhere near where I want to be or need to be."

He'll get there, of course.

Martinez wouldn't have had it any other way.