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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady says his parents are doing well after recovering from COVID-19 early this season and will be among family in the stands to root for him and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in next week's Super Bowl.
"They're doing great, so I think that's the best part about all of it is they came through it," Brady said Thursday after the NFC champions held their first full-scale practice in preparation for the NFL title game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
"There are a lot of things that happen in your life. Like all of us, as you get older there's more that you take on," added the 43-year-old quarterback who won six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots before signing with Tampa Bay as a free agent last winter.
"I still obviously love going out there and competing. But on the other side of that, there's a lot of family things that are very important to me. Certainly the health of my parents is very important. Although I was far away, I had three sisters who were doing everything they could to help at the time, too."
Brady's father, Tom, Sr., recently revealed that he and his wife, Galynn, battled COVID-19 in September.
"I'll be very excited to know my parents will be in the stands for the game on (Super Bowl) Sunday. They only made it to one game this year. It wasn't a very good outcome, the Saints game at home, which was pretty rough for all of us," Brady said, referring to a 38-3 loss to New Orleans on Nov. 8. "But I'll have a full contingent all coming in, I think on (next) Saturday afternoon, ready to watch the game and cheer us on."
Brady appeared in nine Super Bowls, winning six, during a historic two-decade run with the Patriots. He signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Bucs last March and has helped transform them from a team that missed the playoffs 12 consecutive seasons into conference champions.
"As it played out, this really has been a magical year for me. As a player to switch teams, that takes a lot, and to move my family and go to a different conference and to keep building the way we did and develop a rapport with the guys ... the fact that we're still playing feels really good," Brady said.
"Hopefully we can go finish the job. That would be the best part about the season, winning the last game. ... It's always been a goal to win the last game of the year," he added. "We've got an opportunity to do it. It's certainly not going to be easy. It's going to take everything we got. We're going up against a great championship level team, and it's going to take our best."
The defending champion Chiefs are trying to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl winners since Brady led the Patriots to consecutive titles in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
Tampa Bay won its only NFL championship 18 years ago. Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Shaquil Barrett, Antonio Brown, Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh are the only players on the current roster with previous Super Bowl experience.
Brady said experience won't mean a thing once the game begins.
"Playing well matters. The team that wins is not going to be the most experienced team, it's going to be the team that plays the best," Brady said. "So we've got to prepare the best, we've got to execute the best, we've got to perform the best under pressure. If we do that, we'll be champions. And if we don't, we won't be."
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