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I’m having a bit of trouble with sports blogging right now, with a lot of the predictions I’ve made in the past turning out to be wrong, and even some of the ones I’ve made recently not being correct at all. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I’ve decided that maybe the problem is that I’m not properly equipped to be a sports blogger. In the future, I’m going to try to have a tighter focus on sports, and only focus on the things that I really know about.

Tom Brady came to the NFL as something of an afterthought. More than two decades later, the man who began his career in the depths of the standings now has seven Super Bowl rings to his name.

But long before Brady earned the reputation as the best quarterback of all time, he had to prove himself against Bill Belichick and the rest of his New England Patriots teammates. And although Lee Johnson doubted his colleague’s ability to succeed in the pros, the former Patriots punter couldn’t help but let go of his preconceptions about Michigan’s meager sixth pick.

In a recent podcast, Johnson was brutally honest about Brady, openly admitting that he deserved to be physically punished for questioning a player who quickly proved that the entire league made a huge mistake by allowing him into Belichick’s fold.

Lee Johnson spent the final years of his NFL career with the Patriots

Lee Johnson throws for the New England Patriots, and a younger version of legendary quarterback Tom Brady smiles after winning Super Bowl 36. | Al Bello/ALLSPORT Jeff Haynes/AFP via Getty Images

Johnson, who was affectionately called Thunderfoot at BYU because of his ability to punt the ball around with tremendous power, entered the NFL fifth overall in the 1985 NFL Draft. Lefty spent 18 years in the league before hanging up his boots for good.

Johnson began his career in his home state of Texas with the Houston Oilers. After a brief stint with the Cleveland Browns (just a few years before Belichick became head coach), he found his niche in Cincinnati. In his 11 seasons with the Bengals, Johnson averaged 43.2 yards per punt and also played the role of point specialist.

When his days as a professional football player ended, the Bengals’ greatest hitter of all time left for New England. Johnson took over kicking duties for the Patriots in 1999 and 2000. However, in the 2001 season, it was reduced by five games.

Unfortunately for the veteran, that meant he didn’t get to hoist the Lombardi Trophy on the side of Belichick and Brady. But after spending more than a year alongside an unproven version of TB12, Johnson got the chance to watch a promising player grow up who was clearly overlooked and undervalued on selection day.

Tom Brady’s oldest former teammate had some harsh comments about the head coach

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Johnson appeared on episode of the Pick Six podcast on Monday to discuss a number of topics. As the oldest of Brady’s former teammates (he turns 60 in November), the retired punter offered a unique look at what it’s like when Belichick hands over control of the team to an unknown.

I knew we didn’t really have a reliable, experienced backup at that point, Johnson said. I remember seeing Tom practicing and thinking: This kid, okay, maybe at some point in his career [he’ll get good]. Maybe Bill saw something in him as a player, because when I was coach I never thought this guy would ever become the heir apparent to the New England Patriots. Never.

Johnson was also very open about how he felt about seeing Brady on the field for the first time in place of the injured Drew Bledsoe.

I remember thinking: My God, we’re in trouble, he said.

Johnson’s thoughts quickly changed, however. During the 2001 season, Patriots fans saw Brady display exceptional confidence and self-control for a player with so little experience. And he silenced the doubters – including Johnson – by leading New England to a Super Bowl title.

It was very impressive to see him in practice and see what he did in the beginning, when he was working with the third and fourth teams, versus what he did on the field, Johnson said. I almost deserved to be eliminated because that guy was able to do things that I haven’t seen many guys do in the NFL at that age. It was a wonderful sight to see him on stage and to see him play the way he did.

How many more Super Bowl rings will Brady win before he retires with Johnson?

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How many more Super Bowls can Brady win? It all depends on how long the legendary quarterback wants to play football. It has not yet shown any obvious signs of deterioration. So it seems that avocado ice cream, flexibility exercises and electrolyte supplements (plus a legendary work ethic) are the secret to beating the weather.

Brady enters the 2021 season as the undisputed leader of the most talented team in the NFL. The Buccaneers have unprecedented continuity on both sides of the ball. Thanks to the work of general manager Jason Licht, Tampa begins training camp with the same 22 players from last year’s Super Bowl-winning team. And with the GOAT in charge, the Buccaneers have the advantage over all other title contenders.

Barring injury, they are 17-0 this season. Seriously, they have the talent at every level to pull it off.

Ultimately, Tom Brady should feel confident about his chances of winning the eighth crown next February. And if he returns for the 2022 season and doesn’t collapse like Peyton Manning, he could earn his ninth save before leaving for Lee Johnson for good.

COMPARED TO: Browns desperately need Tom Brady to keep Baker Mayfield from making a potentially fatal mistake

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